TFT shortage to push notebook prices up

Production not nearly equal to demand

Taiwanese manufacturers of TFT LCD screens said that demand for the parts means that their capacity is filled until the end of the year. Both Acer and Chung Hwa are struggling to meet demand, according to local reports, and there is still a shortage of TFT LCD screens from other Far Eastern manufacturers. That will mean an inevitable increase in the price of notebook PCs, said Bob Raikes, senior analyst at graphics market research company Meko. According to the Taiwanese reports, Chung Hwa makes 25K panels every month, while Acer's yield of panel is 15K a month. Both companies are booked solid. Raikes said: "This is part of an ongoing saga and has been foreseeable for eighteen months. The situation is only going to ease up next year. "For a product that's so difficult to make, it's amazing how commodity like it is." At last February's Intel Developer Forum, senior executives at the company forecast a switch in the desktop market from 80 per cent now to 20 per cent in the future, with notebooks taking over the 80 per cent figure. Said Raikes: "One of the big issues for Japan Inc is how to kick the notebook habit." He said the Japanese manufacturers, in the wake of their economic woes, had not invested enough in LCD manufacture, and that other manufacturers, from Taiwan and South Korea, were unable to fill the shortfall. He said that a TFT screen typically accounted for around $600 of a notebook's cost, and this was far more than any other component used in the manufacture. ®

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