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Thursday, August 22, 2002
Quanta Storage to challenge combo CD-RW market in three years

Quanta Computer Inc. CEO Barry Lam gave a presentation on Aug. 14 to introduce the listing plan of Quanta Computer's affiliate Quanta Storage Inc. to institutional investors. Quanta Storage, the world's fourth-largest, slim-type combo CD-RW drive producer, is slated to list on the over-the-counter market on Aug. 27. Lam, also chairman of Quanta Storage, said he expects the combo CD-RW market to grow steadily in the long run, as the price gap between desktop PC and portable notebooks gradually dwindles.

Lam further expects Quanta Storage's global occupation to increase to 10 percent from the current 7 percent by the end of this year, and jump to between 20 percent to 30 percent next year after the completion of Quanta Storage's Songjiang plant located in the greater Shanghai area. The new plant is set to compete for low-profile notebook orders in the central south region of China, where nearly all global brands gather together. Lam expects the company to be able to win around a 60-percent market share.

Quanta Storage estimated its August revenue to grow 12 percent compared to the previous month. In line with the growing shipments of high-end combo products, the company expects its single month revenue in the fourth quarter to reach a high of NT$700 million on average, and is likely to surpass the historical level of NT$629 million registered in April.

According to the company's financial prediction made in early July, Quanta Storage forecast the company would reap an after-tax profit of NT$12.15 per share, superior among all optical-storage drive producers. In addition, the company expects its full-year shareholders equity ratio to reach a high of 59.46 percent, surpassing nearly all optical-storage drive producers and even the CD-RW chip-set leading supplier MediaTeck Corp.'s 55.61 percent.

Lam pointed out in the presentation that a new spree of combo CD-RW drive purchases soon will emerge, as the price gap between notebook and desktop PCs continues narrowing, as LCD panels will eventually replace the role of CRT products.

Lam emphasized that combo types of CD-RWs will develop into the mainstream of all types of optical-storage drives by occupying nearly 70 percent of market share by next year, as with its slim nature, it is supposed to be easily adapted for notebook products. Related products include DVD-ROM drives, CD-ROMs and DVD-RWs.

Quanta Storage's President Jien Jean-chieh said that prices of combo models will begin sliding next year, fueling the demand for the machines eventually. The company is currently the sole Taiwan optical-storage drive maker to mass-produce slim drives. It plans to branch into the production of combo drives for desktop computers by the end of this year

Most of Quanta's domestic rivals, including Lite-On IT Corp., have shrugged off the market of combo drives. But increasing data showed its gradual rise as global giants continue to adopt it to their products. Compaq boosted the PCs installed with DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives to account for 50 percent of its output last year, and Hewlett-Packard Co. weighed twin-drive computers to represent up to 70 percent of its output. Jien contended that twin-drive computers have indeed become a trend, but the two drives will be combo and CD-ROM machines, not CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives.

Quanta Storage revealed it would enter into the field of half-height combo and DVD-ROM product lines as well, and introduce DVD-RWs by the second or third quarter of next year.

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