At the opening of the Computex trade fair in Taiwan today, the country's major electronics players admitted they are falling behind in the monitor market.
Chen-Pen Lin, director of the influential Market Information Centre (MIC), said monitors, which formerly led Taiwanese production ahead of notebooks, desktops and motherboards, will fall to third place this year.
He said: "In terms of displays, growth is not high. We still have 12.6 per cent growth in volume in the first quarter of 1998 but in value it's negative growth. This is the first time we've seen negative growth. Worldwide there's been overexpansion in monitors and that had a damping value."
But Lin, along with KH Wu, vice chairman of Taiwan's IT trade association Cetra, claimed that the country's overall IT industry was still growing, despite the economic woes of the region.
He said: "We have the figures for the first quarter of 1998 obtained from the manufacturers. Despite the impact of lower price PCs, growth is still 17.6 per cent. We are also seeing manufacturers receiving a significant number of orders in high end production."
Lin said that Taiwanese monitor manufacturers were attempting to meet the shortfall by moving into new areas and adopting newer LCD screen technology.
The value of the Taiwanese electronics market in 1997, said Lin, amounted to $30.2 billion. "This shows a 20.9 per cent growth from 1996," he said. "If we can sustain that, it would be a very significant performance achievement."
That growth figure will be repeated in 1998, he claimed. "According to our prediction, Taiwan expects stable growth because we focus on OEM production. Seventy per cent of the value comes from that market, and we're expecting the market to grow by 13 per cent worldwide," he said.
This was in spite of the fact that the market had been depressed in value terms by entry level computers, he said. "As for Windows 98, we believe this will have a beneficial effect on Taiwanese industry," he said. "We'll see some USB and 1394 applications giving a benefit on peripherals. But Windows 98 may not be as influential as Windows 95."
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