Asustek Computer has started test production of pick-up heads
(PUHs) for optical disc drives (ODDs) and is expected to become
the first Taiwanese manufacturer to supply the mainstream ODD
component in Taiwan soon, according to DigiTimes.
Optical storage products have ranked along with notebook
computers as a major new revenue source for the world’s largest
supplier of motherboards. Asustek is expected to set another
monthly shipment record of more than three million units in
October on top of the 19.6 million units delivered in the first
nine months of 2003.
The PUH is a main result of Asustek’s continuous efforts for
business diversification from the motherboard business. The
company is expected to ship 6.5 million ODDs, which include
CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, in 2003. The figure represents a jump
of more than 40% from 2002. It also ranks Asustek as Taiwan’s No.
3 supplier after Lite-On IT and BenQ in the industry.
Asustek is also Taiwan’s third-largest supplier of notebooks
China handset market, after Quanta Computer and Compal
Electronics, with projected shipments of between 1.9 million and
two million units this year.
T.H. Tung, vice chairman, confirmed Asustek has developed PUH
technology after three years of effort. The new technical
know-how and product epitomize the company’s strategy of
developing key upstream components for its major products,
including optical storage devices.
As Taiwan’s Acute Applied Technologies has successfully developed
the PUH for DVD players, Asustek will become the first producer
of PUHs for IT products to break the domination of Japanese
suppliers. Tung said Asustek’s PUHs under test production conform
to mainstream specifications for optical storage devices covering
CD-RW and DVD-Dual drives.
Tung said that Asustek prides itself in developing the core
technologies for every major product lines and then giving them
added value rather than merely expanding sales volume or market
share. He emphasized that the company should not be taken as an
EMS (electronics manufacturing services) enterprise taking only
The company has been investing heavily in R&D projects at a ratio
of between 1% and 2% of annual revenues, which would reach NT$200
billion in 2003.
In the networking and communications field, the R&D efforts have
enabled Asustek to grow into the world’s second-largest supplier
of cable modems. The company’s current R&D projects cover a wide
range of products, like switches and routers.
According to Tung, the R&D and innovation center at Asustek
focuses mainly on products that will become hot items in the next
three to five years. After pouring huge resources into research
of 3G mobile phones, the company was forced to shift to the
development of 2.5-generation handsets due to the
slower-than-expected market maturation.
But Asustek’s won many patents when developing 3G handsets. Tung
firmly believes that Asustek will not miss the boat when the time
for 3G phones arrives.