Chi Mei Optoelectronics: G10 or G11

CMO: Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) is planning to build a 10th (G10) or 11th (G11) generation TFT LCD fabrication plant and commence operations in the 2011 to 2012 time frame. CMO is expected to invest between NT$120 – 150 billion (US$3.95 – 4.93 billion) to build the new plant. The final glass input capacity is slated to be 100,000 substrates per month or more. Whether CMO will choose G10 or G11 is still unknown as the company will need to decide which generation LCD fab will allow it to be more competitive in supplying 50″ and 60″ LCD TV panels. In my opinion, G10 would be more economical as equipment for that size is currently being developed to supply Sharp and S-LCD. Deviating from a previously-developed size can become very costly as LCD fabrication plants move toward processing larger and larger glass substrates.

CMO is working hard with its current LCD fabs to increase capacity. The company’s G6 line commenced volume production in March 2008, which was ahead of schedule. The G6 line has glass input capacity of about 10,000 substrates per month currently and is expected to increase to 80,000 substrates per month by the end of 2008. Originally, CMO planned for a year-end capacity of 50,000 substrates per month. That is a 60% increase compared to the previous plan. The G6 line will most likely be loaded with 32″ and 37″ LCD TV panels. Now with the trend toward smaller and more affordable LCD TV sets at the retail end, production might shift toward smaller 26″ and less toward the larger sizes.

CMO also has a G7.5 fab with a current capacity of 50,000 glass substrates per month. According to the company its G7.5 fab will ramp to a monthly input capacity of 100,000 substrates by the end of 2008. The main sizes that will be loaded on to its G7.5 will be 32″, 40″, 42″ and 47″ LCD TV panels. I suspect that it will be more 40″ or 42″. 40″ to supply Samsung and possibly Sony and 42″ to supply LG, Philips and other brands.

CMO is currently building a G8.5 LCD fab and is expected to begin moving in LCD equipment in late 2008. The initial monthly capacity will be 30,000 glass substrates according to CMO. Most likely, larger 40″-class and smaller 50″-class LCD TV panel sizes would be loaded.

In the company’s recent Q1’08 results, LCD TV panel sales comprised 47% of overall sales. LCD monitors took in 38%, notebook PC panels were 10% and small/medium panel sales were 5% of the overall NT$92.1 billion.

Here is the list of CMO’s current lineup of LCD fabs:

[ Generation, Substrate, Capacity (March 2008 and December 2008), Main Products ]

  • G3.5: 620 x 750mm, 55K/mo to 55K/mo, Small/Medium
  • G4: 680 x 880mm, 88K/mo to 88K/mo, Small/Medium, NBPC
  • G5-1: 1100 x 1300mm, 145K/mo to 145K/mo, NBPC, LCD Monitor
  • G5-2: 1100 x 1300mm, 180K/mo to 180K/mo, NBPC, 16W, 19W, 26W
  • G5.5: 1300 x 1500: 170K/mo to 170K/mo, 22W, 32W, 50″+
  • G6: 1500 x 1850: 10K/mo to 80K/mo, 26W, 32W, 37W, 65W
  • G7.5: 1950 x 2250: 50K/mo to 100K/mo, 32W, 40W, 42W, 47W
  • G8.5: 2200 x 2500

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