Taiwan’s major manufacturers of optical disc drives, including Lite-On IT, Quanta Storage and BenQ, anticipate high growth in slim DVD burner sales in H2 2004. Taiwanese makers, currently lagging behind Japanese and South Korean competitors such as Matsushita-Kotobuki Electronics (MKE), Toshiba, NEC, Teac, Ricoh and Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS), began production of slim DVD burners for notebooks last quarter and are each delivering the product in small volumes of 5,000-10,000 a month.
The steady rise in TFT LCD prices is coming to a halt. Although 15-inch panels are still in short supply and prices have officially risen, TFT LCD makers are selling panels for February shipment to first-tier LCD monitor makers at the same prices as in January, according to sources. Samsung Electronics, AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) had told LCD monitor makers that their prices for TFT LCD panels shipped in February would rise US$3-5, sources added. ITFacts wrote about price hike last November.
The stable value of total external disk system shipments in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007 hides the healthy compound annual growth rates of 7.5% for the SAN and 5.4% for the NAS sectors as they fight over more than $1 billion in shipments lost by the dwindling value of direct attached storage shipments during that time. By 2007, IDC expects SAN shipments will reach $3.8 billion or 65% of the $5.8 billion market for external disk systems in the U.S.
Prices for the chipsets, which include a CMOS image sensor, MCU (micro-controller unit) and USB controller, have decreased by about 10% since Taiwan-based PixArt Imaging began to offer optical mouse-use CMOS image sensors at relatively low prices at the end of 2002.
Many of Taiwan?s optical disc drive manufacturers, in light of increasing OEM orders for DVD burners, plan to gradually decrease OEM production of combo drive models. According to Taiwanese makers, the OEM price level of combo drives has dropped from US$70-80 per unit in Q1 2003 to US$40-45 currently. The OEM prices of DVD burners have slipped from US$170-180 to about US$100 in the same period. As the price difference has fallen from US$100 to US$55-60, global demand for DVD burners has grown faster than for combo drives. Many Taiwanese makers are willing to allocate more capacity to DVD burners by reducing combo drive output.
The US Interactive Voice Response (IVR) market had its third down year in a row, losing over 12% in US port sales. According to In-Stat/MDR, this market was down again partly due to the lagging Y2K hangover, but primarily because of the continuing slow economy. However, the high-tech market research firm believes that the market will improve modestly during 2003, with larger gains coming in 2004 and beyond. Although the market was down more in 2002 than in 2001, three vendors were able to achieve gains in the tough economy. With sales of 7,685 ports, Syntellect exceeded 2001 numbers by 18.5%. The gain is primarily attributable to strong add-on ports sales. # Interactive Intelligence is fairly new to the IVR market and beat 2001 sales of 2,972 ports by 15.2%. It should be noted that these were for standalone IVR sales only. They would have done even better had we been able to accurately account for IVR ports included in Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) system sales. Nortel beat their 2001 numbers by 4.7%, with sales of 67,178 ports.
Taiwan?s second-tier optical disc makers are preparing to begin production of 8x DVD+R/-R discs in the Q1 of 2004. The second-tier makers include GigaStorage, Lead Data, Daxon Technology and Nan Ya Plastics. The first tier consists of three companies: CMC Magnetics, Prodisc Technology and Ritek. Nan Ya Plastics is a leader in Taiwan?s plastics industry but its production of optical storage media is small in comparison to its other business divisions.
The top three makers indicated that they have started or will start production of 8x DVD+R/-R discs this month. Due to the relatively high technology barriers, second-tier makers are expected to analyze dye stuff and material ingredients of sample products made by the top three and then adjust their production accordingly, local experts in the industry pointed out. The top three makers still have to learn from the manufacturing process of 8x DVD+R/-R discs to reduce the defect rate, the experts indicated. The experts estimate that the top three makers will not be able to reach an acceptable yield of 95-99% before the first quarter of 2004.
Third-quarter sales of disk storage systems were down slightly to $4.8 bil compared to last year, but price cuts bode well for the market, research firm IDC said. Figures point to relatively soft demand with IDC showing a modest 36% growth year-over-year to 197 petabytes shipped in Q3, when revenues slipped 0.3%.
HP leads the pack with 26.4% revenue share. IBM and EMC garnered 21.1% and 12.9%, respectively. Dell and EMC, who have a partnership in which they sell each other’s products, posted the strongest year-over-year factory revenue growth during Q3, with 22.9% and 20.5% gain, respectively.EMC also had the largest year-over-year market share gain of 2.2 points. Dell moved into the number 4 position on strong sales of products from EMC and the Dell/EMC relationship continues to propel each company. Meanwhile, Sun fell to a tie with HDS for the number 5 position.
In the total external disk storage system market, revenue increased 1.5% year-over-year in Q3 to $3.2 bil. HP maintained its No. 1 position with 21.8% revenue share, with EMC grabbing the second slot with 19.2%.
Industry observers expect Japanese mobile phone TFT LCD prices could drop 5-10% by the Q1 2004, as supply increases significantly and alleviates the current shortage. To meet strong demand for digital still camera (DSC) and mobile phone panels, Sharp recently announced plans to build a second system LCD production line at its Mie 3 factory, with volume production scheduled to begin by March.
Demand for large-size LCD televisions is increasing rapidly, with panel sales expected to rise by 184% in 2003 to about 4 million units.
Panel makers are boosting production of 30-inch and 32-inch LCD panels to tap the LCD TV market, iSuppli/Stanford Resources said. But those production increases are coming at the expense of smaller-size panels, leading to a general shortfall of LCDs not only for televisions, but also for notebook computers and desktop PC monitors, the research firm said.