Japan’s Leading Position In Led Industry Has Been Shaken

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By Jerri Lily

“130 years after Edison invented the light bulb, white led into a revolutionary force in an assault. This revolution is giving way to quiet a long time occurred in the field of lighting technology turned upside down. Although Japanese companies dominate the world before the white LED market, but Now U.S. and European companies are rapidly catching up. and the Japanese manufacturers and South Korea and Taiwan the gap between the industry is also shrinking the area of a large investment in the LED so that new competitors gold show amazing growth rate. Japan is full of hope LED area at risk, “iSuppli Japan, said the company’s vice president of AkiraMinamikawa. He believes that the fate of the Japanese semiconductor industry variation is not decisive because of their actions.

Not long ago, the survey also showed that Japanese manufacturers dominate the white LED market. Nichia accounted for more than 60% of the global market, ranking second ToyodaGosei about 20%. Japanese companies together accounted for the global white LED supply more than 90%.

But recently the situation has changed significantly. iSuppli’s survey shows the declining share of Nichia’s half down to 30%, while ToyodaGosei then fell below 10%. Meanwhile, Osram and Cree in the rankings the United States rose to the second and third. Taiwan manufacturers in the back of hot pursuit, trying desperately to squeeze into the first square.

In the South Korean companies, Samsung and LG, after the current position by comparison, have announced plans to expand production of large-scale investment. Once their new plant put into operation, will leap into the ranks of first-tier suppliers.

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According to iSuppli Corporation, the white LED market size in 2004, about 20 billion U.S. dollars, is expected to grow by 2012 to 40 billion dollars by 2020 will exceed 9.0 billion.

White LED will be widely used in various occasions, from residential, office and shop lighting, until the LCD TV backlight and automotive lighting. Some parts of Africa there are 10 million people without electric light bulb is available, when the LED lighting when spread to these areas, the market will become very large.

Currently, the majority of the white LED is a blue LED and yellow phosphor combination. Professor at the University of California, the former employer Nichia ShujiNakamura between its blue LED patent on the famous case has been settled out of court, only to Nakamura Nichia to pay a little more than $ 8,000,000, well below its required about 2 billion U.S. dollars. Nakamura of the Japanese companies disappointed, especially for Japan Asia to heart, eventually leaving the United States. This caused a brain drain in Japan concerns. Nichia blue LED on the production of patents about to expire, manufacturers around the world will begin mass production of white LED.

Japanese firms are losing control of the global market? Minamikawa, explains: “Business indecisive, can not make a bold investment decisions, when the opportunity comes, will be confused. Although they claim their plans very carefully, but the reality is they are making more quickly defeated by overseas competitors. As Japanese companies in the IT and consumer electronics markets declined the position, they have do not have to make strategic investments in the semiconductor industry’s financial strength. “

However, faced with the threat of overseas counterparts, Japanese companies have pick ourselves up, and develop an investment plan. Nichia announced that it will build a city of four countries in the new plant. Sharp’s two plants are converting from the production of IC into production LED. Toshiba plans to invest over the LED above the 30 billion yen, including the construction of a new plant. Mitsubishi Chemical is also clear that the intention to expand the production of white LED chips.

Within an equipment manufacturer who holds such a calm view of spectacle: “Even if Japanese companies have decided to invest in a white LED, they will be difficult to buy equipment.

MOCVD is the key to producing LED devices, while only two of the major supplier of MOCVD system: Aixtron of Germany and the United States of Veeco. Japanese equipment manufacturers Sanso Japanese LED manufacturers to supply most of MOCVD system, the lack of sufficient capacity to meet demand. Limited number of devices on the market, it is difficult to buy. More than 150 sets of equipment has been ordered by South Korea’s Samsung. Industry argument is that only in the market to buy used equipment. “

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