A subsidiary of PC manufacturing giant Acer has merged with component manufacturer Unipac Optoelectronics in an attempt to take control of the international TFT LCD monitor market. The merger was brought about through an equity swap between Unipac affiliate United Microelectronics, and Acer Display Technology (ADT).
According to Jason Tsui, Acer's LCD product manager, the newly formed company AU Optronics Corporation (AUOC) will enable Acer ramp up competition on flat screen pricing, and ultimately improve the technology through an increased pool of R&D.
"This is the year when TFT LCD screens are really going to take off," Tsui said. "We previously would buy the screens' panels from the Unipac plants in order to manufacture the screens, we will still work in the same way, but it will all come under an Acer banner."
According to Tsui the Unipac produced panels represent 90 per cent of the cost of the LCD technology, making the recent merger a potentially lucrative move for Acer.
Acer Communications and Multimedia and Unipac will share equal partnership under AUOC. The equity swap consist of one Acer share for 1.17 shares of Unipac and the total capital poured into AUOC now runs at US$29.7 billion.
With five TFT-LCD manufacturing sites and an estimated output of 170,000 units per month, AUOC's out put should match that of LG-Phillips, and trail close behind Samsung Electronics of Korea.
Tsui believes the added competitiveness of the newly created company will allow Acer to penetrate the TFT LCD monitor market in Australia. However, Acer has its work cut out failing to appear in Inform's list of the top five vendors in Australia, which they listed as LG, NEC, Samsung, Philips and Sony.Photograph: Jason Tsui