Leading The World

Taiwan remains the undisputed leader in
information technology, ranked as the third largest producer of IT products in the world,
after the US and Japan. The island leads the world in the production of desktop scanners,
motherboards, switching power supplies, hand-held scanners, modem, keyboards, mice,
monitors, casings and hubs. Total output of information hardware reached $30.4 billion in
1997, up 21.43% over the previous year. North America was the destination for 42% of all
Taiwan IT exports, followed by Europe and Asia at 30% and 18% respectively.

Monitors make for the largest product
category. Other fast growing product segments are CD ROM drives, Desktop PCs, notebooks,
scanners and UPSs. Led by innovative companies such as Acer Peripherals, Aopen and Lite-On
Technology, and having ample experience and sophisticated technology in optical storage
products, the production of CD ROM drives has increased by 93%, contributing $1.02
billion. Desktop PCs is the second fastest-growing segment, showing a growth rate of 52%,
contributing $5.1 billion. A major reason for this outstanding performance is that the
leading international firms have been commissioning Taiwan companies to manufacture a wide
range of products for the PC market. In fact, OEM/OMD orders represents 75% of the entire
desktop production.

MONITORS: Monitors have
traditionally been the largest among the Taiwan’s IT product portfolio. Last year, the
number of units produced amounted to 40,727,000, worth $7.9 billion. However, owing to the
worldwide drop in cathode display tube prices, production value in 1997 did not rise in
proportion to production volume, the sector did not post any growth in terms of value.
Nevertheless, Taiwan still commands 53% of the global market. CRT monitors are the main
product line, but are expected to be replaced by LCD monitors as technology advances and
cost declines. Recently, 15″ models have replaced 14″ ones, with 17″ models
recording a growth rate of some 20%.

ADI’s Microscan 6P series of CRT monitors
have won wide acclaim, including the ‘Best Budget Buy Award’ from PC Professionall in
Germany, as well as Taiwan’s own ‘Symbol of Excellence Award.’ Units offer monitor display
resolutions of up to 1600x1200dsi at flicker free 75Hz refresh rates and super fine trio
dot pith of .26mm. They come with USB and BNC connectors and a built-in microphone, plus a
three-year warranty with onsite service for the first year.

ADI is among the top-five monitor
manufacturers of the world. Founded in 1979, the company’s revenues exceeded $1 billion in
1997, with OEM orders accounting for 55% of this. In addition to its ISO 9001-certified
factory in Taiwan, ADI also has factories in Thailand, China and Mexico. A new facility
has also come up in the UK, which is likely to begin production in June next year. This
will bring ADI’s total annual output to an estimated 6 million units.

Topvision specializes exclusively in LCD
monitors. The company sells its CrystalView series of low radiation, flicker-free RGB LCD
monitors in both TFT and DSTN with Multiscan up to 1024×768 at 75Hz. Sizes range from
10.4″ to 17″. All these products are equipped with analog inputs for PC, NC and
Mac compatibility. The company intends to launch LCD monitors up to 18″ in size in
the first half of 1998. It also plans to develop a large-sized plasma model. Established
in 1997, the company already employs 100 people. Its newest clients include Akai of Japan
and Zandalf of Sweden. Current monthly capacity is expected to climb to 10,000 by the end
of 1998.

NOTEBOOKS: In 1997 Taiwan
produced 33% of the world’s notebook PCs, worth about $6.8 billion. The majority of the
4,610.000 units produced last year were made on an OEM basis for global brands such as
Compaq, IBM and Toshiba, as well as for Taiwan’s own Acer and Mitac. Taiwan is Compaq’s
largest source for computers. Approximately 25% of Compaq’s, 40% of IBM’s, 60% of Dell’s,
and 25% of NEC’s desktop models are made in Taiwan. Many industry analysts believe that
notebooks will eventually replace desktop PCs. Growth in the category is expected to
increase by 15-20% in 1998.

First International Computer Inc is
currently introducing its new 7000 series multimedia notebook. The product is DVD-ready,
and comes with a built-in CCD camera, two 3D surround sound speakers for
videoconferencing, a 14.1″ TFT display screen, 256-bit graphics engine and an
internal 56/33.3 Kpbs modem. An affiliate of Formosa Plastics, FIC founded in 1980, posted
revenues of $1.2 billion in 1997. In addition to notebooks, FIC is a major manufacturer of
motherboards, PCs, multimedia cards and monitors. The ISO 9000-certified company produces
both on an OEM basis and under its own brand name.

Asustek Computer Inc is another industry
leader. Its new Asustek P6000 series comes with desktop-level CPUs, 13.3″ TFT color
displays, auto-tilt up keyboards and upgrade capability for three generations of
processors, including the P55CLM, Tillamook and mobile Pentium II at 166/200/233/266 Mhz
with MMX. P6000 units are also DVD-ready and have space available for removable 2.5″
or 3″ IDE HDD and removable CD ROM, LS120, floppy or Zip drive. Connectivity includes
ports for Zoom Video, NTSC/PAL TV-out, USB and CardBus support.

Established in 1989, Asustek is the world’s
largest manufacturer of motherboards. It is now expanding into the production of a variety
of other computer products. The company is ISO 9002 certified and posted revenues last
year of over $500 million.

FAX MODEMS: In 1996, fax
modem production is expected to account for about 52% of the world production, making the
island the largest supplier of the product worldwide. Most makers have seen dramatic
growth in the past couple of years, primarily as a result of the growing popularity of
Internet application.

Most major fax modem makers in Taiwan
purchase chipsets from multiple sources, diversifying their sourcing in order to manage
supply risk effectively and to provide a variety of cost and performance choices for
different customers.

MOUSE: Taiwan was the
world’s top computer mouse supplier in 1996. Production totaled 47.3 million units in
1996, accounting for 72% of the global production. To maintain their competitive edge,
manufacturers are striving to develop higher end, higher value-added mice. Optical and
wireless mice have become important niche products. In addition, it is generally accepted
that USB will become a new industry standard. As a result, many makers have already
developed USB-compliant models.

SCANNERS: Taiwan is
currently the world’s largest scanner supplier. The island commanded 95% of the
marketshare in the hand-held scanners and 52% in the desktop scanner segment in 1996. The
platform scanner market is rowing steadily, but the standard hand-held scanner line is
troubled by market saturation. n

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