China Invests in Solid-State Lighting (SSL)

China stated that it will invest $44 million to develop a national solid-state lighting program during the China International Forum on Solid-State Lighting (CIFSSL). CIFSSL was held at the Shenzhen Conference and Exhibition Center, Shenzhen, China on July 12-14 and is sponsored by the highest levels of the Chinese government. China formally inaugurated its national SSL program in February 206 as part of the 11th Five Year Plan. Growth of the high-tech sector was considered key to China’s future development and LEDs were seen as a crucial part. Most of China’s GDP is generated from foreign companies and joint ventures. With programs such as SSL, China wants to stimulate the domestic high-tech market.

Another advantage of SSL is the promise of energy savings. China consumes the most energy bested only by the US and will continue to grow in its appetite for more. Millions are pouring into the cities every year; energy demand will grow as a result.

$44 million sounds like a very small sum of money considering the potential of the LED market and energy savings in the billions. Although $44 million is better than nothing, I have to wonder how serious the Chinese top ranking officials are for SSL development. China will  also encourage domestic companies to file and protect intellectual properties, but this is in light of China being the world’s center for counterfeits. I hope China will transition toward IP protection since it is also the world’s center for manufacturing. China’s LED-related patents are behind Japan, Europe and the US by as much as two decades. Also, the importance of patents and IP protection as a key toward success in international markets was noted. Because of the lag, Chinese companies will be focusing on packaging and applications where there is a gap.

Transitioning from a manufacturing center to a technology center will take many years if not decades. As this transition happens, cost of labor will gradually increase and will most likely hit an inflection point where for some industries, manufacturing goods in China is not an option.

Source: LEDs Magazine

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