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Thursday, October 16, 2003
Falling contract prices drive up sales of Taiwan’s combo drives

More of Taiwan’s notebook and mini-PC makers are bundling combo drives into their low-end models, taking advantage of falling prices resulting from the increasing number of players in the optical storage market, according to DigiTimes.

Toshiba, Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics (MKE), Hitachi LG Data Storage (HLDS) and Quanta Storage were previously the four major players, accounting for about 80-90% of the global sales of combo drives, sources said.

However, contract manufacturing prices for combo drives have declined sharply in recent months as more Taiwanese makers of optical storage drives, including Lite-On IT and BenQ, have entered the field.

With the number of players rising and competition intensifying, the average contract manufacturing price for combo drives has fallen to around US$60-65 recently from US$75-80 in the first quarter of this year, sources said.

Meanwhile, the retail prices for 24x and 32x combo drives in the domestic market have fallen to NT$1,900-1,990 from NT$3,300-3,500.

The falling contract manufacturing prices have helped Taiwan’s combo drive makers sharply drive up their shipments, sources said.

Quanta Storage managed to ship 500,000 units in the third quarter, compared with 300,000-400,000 units in the previous quarters, while quarterly shipments at Lite-On IT hit the 100,000-unit mark for the first time during the July-September period.

BenQ has landed substantial OEM orders from Philips as well as from a first-tier Japanese notebook maker, sources said.

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