The global recordable DVD drive market will become volatile in the fourth quarter of 2003 as makers in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are ramping up outputs aimed at grabbing a bigger share in the world market amid the improvement in the supply of pick-up heads—a major part of the optical storage drive, according to DigiTimes.
Japanese DVD drive makers such as Pioneer, Sony, NEC (Nippon Electric Co.) and Ricoh dominated the world’s DVD drive market in the first half, as they had easy access to the PUH supply, either from their affiliated companies or other Japanese firms, including Sanyo and Mitsubishi, sources said.
Other optical drive makers in the region, including Lite-On IT, BenQ and Quanta Storage of Taiwan and Samsung and HLDS (Hitachi-LG Data Storage) of South Korea, however, served as the second-tier suppliers making only piecemeal shipments in the first half due to the tight supply of the PUHs.
The shortage of the PUHs in the first half was actually caused by an inefficient supply of LD (laser diode)—a key component for making pick-up head, said sources.
However, Japanese LD makers, including Sharp and Mitsubishi, have begun jacking up their outputs in the second half after adding new production facilities in the first half, therefore easing the supply of the PUHs, sources said.
Pioneer, for example, has recently boosted its monthly output of PUHs to 500,000-600,000 units from 300,000-400,000 units in the first half. The Japanese company is expected to turn out as many as 800,000 PUHs per month in the fourth quarter, sources said. Others like Sanyo, Ricoh and Philips of the Netherlands have also substantially expanded their outputs.
The increased supply of PUHs has resulted in a sharp rise in shipments by Taiwan’s DVD drive makers recently. Among them, Lite-On IT was able to ship 250,000 units of DVD+RW drives and DVD-Dual drives in September from 90,000 units in the previous month, while BenQ saw its shipments rise to 200,000 units from less than 50,000 units.
Although Japanese makers like Pioneer and NEC will continue to be the key DVD drive suppliers, either Lite-On IT or BenQ has a chance to become the world’s third largest vendor, pending on which one could fast ramp up their production of 8x DVD-Dual drives, sources said.