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Oversupply in LED market to improve in 2013, says Everlight chairman

Siu Han, Japan; Jackie Chang, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 16 January 2013]
LED packaging house Everlight Electronics is currently showcasing new LED packaging products with the focus being white LED and automobile lighting at the Lighting Japan 2013 exhibition. According to Robert Yeh, chairman of Everlight, the oversupply conditions in the LED market will improve in 2013.

Yeh noted that weak market conditions have been on-going for nearly one and a half years but demand for backlight and lighting products will show growth in 2013. In addition, Yeh added, price competition has been easing recently, therefore Everlight is optimistic about revenues and profits in 2013.

Yeh stated that the firm's business strategy for the Japan market has been relatively conservative due to patent lawsuits with Japan-based Nichia. Recently, the lawsuits have been favoring Everlight, therefore, the firm believes sales in the Japan market will show growth in 2013. In addition, Everlight plans to seek strategic partners for own-brand products.

To gain profits from LED lighting, firms need to rely on economies of scale and cost-cutting strategies, said Yeh. Everlight will not consider adopting fully automated production because standards for LED lighting have been constantly changing, and without full capacity utilization rates, the cost difference between semi-automated and automated production is just NT$5 (US$0.17), said Yeh.

Epistar will not participate at Lighting Japan 2013. However, Biing-Jye Lee, chairman of Epistar, attended the opening ceremony. Lee stated that if the retail price of 60W retrofit LED light bulbs can be lowered to US$10/unit in 2013, demand will surge and global shipments of LED light bulbs will increase to 300-400 million units.

According to Jacob Tarn, president of TSMC Solid State Lighting, there are three major markets for LED lighting in 2013 – public projects, retrofit, and the consumer market. Tarn added that if the price difference between LED and energy-saving light bulbs narrows to 50%, LED light bulb priced will reach a sweet spot. Currently, the global average price of 60W retrofit LED light bulbs is around US$25/unit, said Tarn, but the price of an energy-saving light bulb with the same level of power is only US$10, therefore the current price difference is 150%.
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