Persistent reports are circulating on the floor of the Computex trade show in Taiwan that Dutch manufacturer Philips may exit the CRT monitor market.
The rumours follow a prediction earlier this week that the CRT monitor industry is likely to show a decline this year as vendors concentrate on the newer, and higher margin, technology, LCD. Liquid crystal display monitors are used particularly in the notebook sector.
Philips Displays, which has a large manufacturing unit in Taiwan, was noticeable by its absence from this year's Computex. Not only did it not have a stand but it had not booked external suites either.
According to Bob Raikes, senior analyst at monitor market research company Meko, many local manufacturers are considering exiting the CRT business. Although Tatung was booked to appear at the show, it has no presence here either.
Raikes said: "I have talked to manufacturers who are switching their production plans because there is no longer any money to be made with CRTs."
Japanese and Korean companies dominated the CRT monitor market, he said, and margins were razor thin. Taiwanese companies were squeezed in the middle.
But Raikes added that although many of the Taiwanese manufacturers were showing LCD screens on their stands, there was little possibility of the price dropping in the near future.
He said that companies that made LCD screens were primarily fulfilling the demand of a growing notebook market, and could reach capacity fairly quickly, leading to high prices and short supplies. That, he said, could happen as early as the end of this year or the first quarter of 1999.
Difficulties in Asia had meant that many manufacturers had put plans to create more LCD-capable factories on the back burner, said Raikes. They were now looking for profitability from their existing operations.
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