Jan 16, 2009
LED driver ICs to be the next shipment growth driver in 2009
Taiwan IC design houses are more aggressively developing LED driver ICs, expected to become the next core segment in the market, since customers are demanding low-cost chip solutions. Macroblock, Silicon Touch Technology (SiTI), Integrated Technology Express (ITE) and Ene Technology are expected to see shipment growth of LED driver ICs in the first quarter this year, according to market watchers.
Macroblock has reported sales of NT$303 million (US$9.08 million) for the fourth quarter of 2008 and annual sales totaled NT$1.29 billion, up 10% compared to 2007, representing relatively outstanding performance compared to its rivals. Macroblock's operations felt less impact from the weak economy because the company targets niche markets, and customers of its major product, billboard panel LED ICs, are from diverse regions, indicated the sources.
SiTI has a complete deployment in billboard panel LED driver ICs, and it has also entered the market of zoom lens module driver ICs for handset cameras. However, its LED driver IC market share has decreased slightly because more competitors are entering the market, the sources noted.
Ene has been in the LED driver IC market for more than one year. Its monthly shipments have reached hundreds of thousands of units since the end of the third quarter last year. Ene estimates its LED driver IC shipments will continue to grow this year and January sales will see 20% sequential growth.
ITE, a United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) affiliate, has had small shipments of LED driver ICs since the second half of 2008. It is cooperating with Osram Opto Semiconductors to enter the LED street lamp market. LED driver ICs are expected to be ITE's future sales growth driver as the company has already developed more than five LED driver IC products, said the sources.
Because Taiwan companies currently have less than a 5% share of the global LED driver IC market, while the supply chain in Taiwan is fairly complete, IC design companies which have entered the market are expected to have an optimistic outlook for the future, added the sources.
[Cage Chao, Taipei; Meiling Chen, DIGITIMES]