TAIPEI — Touch Taiwan, an international touch-panel and optical film exhibition that opened here Wednesday, is exposing some of Asia’s techno-political tensions, focused on one question: Who will own the display technologies likely to dominate the rapidly changing smartphone market in China?
China is “the new battlefield” for the global display industry, as Xin-Qing Liang, secretary general of the China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufacturers Association, put it during his keynote speech.
Display vendors from China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan are jostling for bigger market share in China’s smartphone market.
Many display suppliers, however, agree that establishing partnerships across national borders is a way to go, especially if they want to beat the Koreans. But they face unanswered questions, such as who can trust whom, who should team with whom in what ways, and what’s the ultimate gain from any such partnership.
Wei-Min Bai, China Video Industry Assoc.
During her keynote speech, Wei-Min Bai, vice president and secretary general of the China Video Industry Association, stressed the importance of “collaborations across the strait,” because China and Taiwan are both “facing global competition.”
Meanwhile, a representative from Taiwan Display Inc. -- Japan Display Inc.’s 100 percent-owned subsidiary based in Taipei -- talked of China’s smartphone “megatrends,” and how the Japan-Taiwan partnership plans to tackle them.
No-shows at the Touch Taiwan show -- in terms of booth presence -- are two Korean display behemoths, Samsung and LG.
Representatives from China pitched relentlessly, pitting themselves against the Koreans and Japanese. As for collaborations across the strait, Bai portrayed China as Taiwan’s best strategic partner. She told the audience, “For example, we’d like to know whether we [China] should get into the OLED business, or take a closer look at other technologies being developed by Taiwanese companies such as Auo.”
Her fellow Chinese representative Liang also explained that the partnership model between the two countries shouldn’t be limited to an existing model under which Taiwan supplies chips and components and China manufactures displays. “Instead, we should look for opportunities for cooperation by building the entire ‘upstream-downstream’ supply chain together.”
Ting-Chen Hsu, CEO at TDI
Among the keynote speakers on the opening day, Ting-Chen Hsu, chairman and CEO of Taiwan Display Inc. (TDI), proved to be the most dynamic and popular, judging from the huge crowd that followed him after his speech. Hsu, the former vice president of Taiwan’s Innolux, was handpicked by Japan Display Inc. (JDI), and was tasked last fall to establish a new subsidiary in Taiwan -- Hsu’s home ground -- to further Japanese expansion efforts.
Hsu started out noting that “the Chinese market we all knew is nothing like the Chinese market we know today.” In his slideshow, he illustrated a number of “megatrends” in China’s smartphone market.
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