Taiwan's petrochemical and plastics giant, Formosa Plastics Group, has decided to diversify into the optoelectronics industry field. The group is reported now to be conducting a feasibility study of moving into optical pickup head production. The group assessed that initially capital injected is expected to reach NT$200 million on the project.
Formosa Plastics Group's head office has formed a task force to evaluate the investment. The conclusion it makes will be sent to affiliates concerned as references or to form a new affiliate to engage in a related investment scheme.
Sources revealed that the initial proposal has been made on the project. The group will choose an optical pickup head as its investment item in the optoelectronics field.
An optical pickup head is a major component of various disk players. The component's technique comes mainly from Japan, The Netherlands and the United States. Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institution (ITRI) also is endeavoring to develop the technique to help local companies become self-sufficient.
Sources revealed that Formosa Plastics Group is likely to form a new company to engage in production and buy its technique from a Japanese provider.
Formosa has aggressively diversified into various electronics fields from petrochemical concentrations to DDR DRAM, PDP, PCB and STN-LCD production lines.
Formosa Plastics Group has seen a promising future for the production lines, and the island requirement for digital pickup heads is significant, as optoelectronic storage, input and output needs are growing rapidly, despite the economic recession.
Although the electronics sector has been suffering form sluggish global demand, Taiwan's optoelectronics-related production still outperformed its other electronics sector counterparts.
The Taiwan Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers' Association attributed the optoelectronics' sector's acceptable growth during the recession partly to the relative high growth of Taiwan's rewritable compact disk (CD-RW) drives and optocommunications passive devices, as well as to digital cameras and thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays (TFT-LCDs)
Nearly half of Taiwan's optoelectronics production value is contributed to by the optoinformation segment, which is composed of optostorage, optoinput and optooutput devices, according to the association.
Behind the fact is the widespread usage of the Internet and fast growth of the multimedia industry, largely boosting the traffic volume of voice and pictures.
In 2001, the top 10 segments of Taiwan's production of the optoelectronics industry, by value, were TFT-LCDs, CD-Rs, read-only memory compact-disc drives, super-twisted nematic LCDs (STN-LCDs), CD-RW drives, scanners, digital cameras, overhead projectors, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and read-only-memory digital video disk players.
The optocommunications and optoapplications segments remained minor in Taiwan's optoelectronics production, and was still in the start-up stage, according to the association.