Philips will spend about US$80 million in constructing a Lumileds LED production plant in Singapore that will employ 1000 workers. Philips’ CEO Gerard Kleisterlee stated that it would be a high-luminance, high-power LED production facility for LCD displays, automotive backlighting and city beautification. The article in LEDs Magazine states that the new plant will be a wafer fab focusing on high-volume production of Lumiled’s Luxeon LEDs.
A bit of history about LEDs: Full color spectrum LEDs were discovered in 1993 and in 2004 hit US$3.7 billion in revenues. In 2006, revenues are expected to hit around US$4 to 5 billion and will grow to US$10 billion by 2010E. Last year, Philips spent US950 million to buy out Agilent Technologies’ share of Lumileds Lighting. Lumileds currently manufactures LED wafers and chips in its San Jose, CA facility and has a Penang, Malaysia-based packaging facility. The site in Singapore consists of two buildings previously owned by Maxtor. Production is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2007.
The largest opportunity for LED chip makers and packagers is the LCD TV market. In 2006, most are forecasting a 50 million unit year. If you consider that a 40″ or so sized LCD TV requires hundreds if not thousands of LEDs, the market is huge. In only a few years, annual LCD TV unit shipments will hit 100 million. Imagine the number of LEDs required to fulfill all of that. Of course, at the moment, only the top-end models will transition to LED backlights from CCFL.