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Appeared on: Thursday, June 26, 2003
BenQ expects less shipments of slim-type optical storage drives in August

With approval from three major clients, BenQ expects to experience surging shipments of its slim-type optical storage drives in August, according to William Wang, vice president of BenQ’s Imaging Network Business Group.

Wang, however, said BenQ had lowered its forecast for slim-type optical drive shipments in 2003 to less than one million units from the three million it had projected in early 2003. Having launched slim-type DVD-ROM and combo drives earlier this year, BenQ expects to introduce a slim-type DVD+RW drive in October, Wang said.

In related news, BenQ is targeting shipping about two million half-height DVD+RW drives in 2003, given the sufficient supply of pick-up heads (PUHs) in the second half of the year. The company expects to ship at least one million half-height DVD+RW drives in the second half, of which about 70% will be contract-manufactured for other companies. Royal Philips Electronics, with which BenQ started a joint venture, Philips BenQ Digital Storage (PBDS), is a major client for the drives, Wang said.

BenQ recently started shipping 4x half-height DVD+RW drives. The company also expects to start volume production of 8x half-height DVD+RW drives in September and introduce 8x half-height DVD-Dual drives in the second half, according to Wang.

To maintain a smooth supply of PUHs, BenQ will also order PUHs from Sankyo Seiki Manufacturing in addition to its original supplier, Philips, Wang said. Compared to other Taiwanese optical storage drive makers adopting PUHs made by Philips, BenQ can save at least US$20 in licensing fees for each drive produced, Wang said.

Wang denied that the relation between BenQ and its client Pioneer, an advocate for the DVD-RW format, had turned sour because of the Taiwanese company’s alliance with Philips, a member of the DVD+RW camp.

BenQ is still a major supplier of Pioneer’s DVD-ROM drives, and the two companies may cooperate on DVD-Dual drives in the future, Wang said.


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