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Friday, September 05, 2003
 MediaTek August sales rise to cover demand from Korea, Taiwan
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Message Text: MediaTek reported August sales of NT$3.6 billion, an all-time monthly high. That represented a 72% surge from last year and a 36.8% gain sequentially, according to DigiTimes.

Demand for DVD player, DVD-RW drive and combo drive (DVD-ROM + CD-RW) ICs rose from customers in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, according to Mingto Yu, finance director of Hsinchu-based MediaTek. “All of the products enjoyed healthy growth, with combo drive ICs rising at a faster pace,” Yu said. “We expect the sales momentum to continue into September.”

MediaTek, a unit of foundry service provider United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), is benefiting from robust demand from customers in South Korea and Taiwan, both of which are among the world’s top three optical storage device manufacturers. Major buyers of MediaTek include Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics (LGE) and Taiwan’s Quanta Storage and Lite-On Technology.

To be sure, one factor that might dampen the industry is the lack of supply of pick-up heads (PUHs), an important component for the devices. “It’s clear that demand for the devices remains strong,” said Barro Liao, a senior analyst at Prudential Securities Investment Trust & Co. in Taipei. “But if Japanese makers can’t expand their production quick enough, the lack of supply might hurt players in the market.”

Looking ahead, higher gross margin DVD-RW and combo drive ICs will increasingly be critical for MediaTek’s growth. Combo drive ICs, for example, now account for 15% of total shipments, Yu said, adding that the company has started to deliver DVD-RW drive ICs.

Another key product for MediaTek is chips used in handset RF (radio frequency) modules, which MediaTek has planned to deliver for months, some analysts said.

“We’re working on design-ins with our customers. Hopefully, its shipment can begin end of this year or early 2004,” the finance director said.

For the first eight months of the year, MediaTek’s sales hit NT$22.8 billion, accomplishing 70% of its 2003 forecast, the company said.
 
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