Prime View International to Invest US$500 in ePaper Displays

Digitimes: Prime View International (PVI) will invest US$500 to expand its electrophoretic display (EPD) business in China. The company will work together with fanshu.com and Phoenix Publishing & Media Network for content development. China-based Founder Group’s fanshu.com will be the e-book download platform of choice.

More than 600,000 Chinese-language titles are authorized for downloads on fanshu.com and the number of titles are expected to grow at 100,000 per year. PVI and Phoenix Publishing & Media Network will develop China’s educational market by digitizing textbooks and reference titles. The goal is to reduce the consumption of paper and educational expenses. Apple’s iPad might be experiencing considerable demand in the US, more so than expected, but with an entry price of US$499 is considerably higher than Amazon’s Kindle. I’m certain e-book readers will need to hit the $99 price point (or even $49) to catalyze the transition from paper to e-paper.

The half-billion dollar investment will go toward building Yangzhou, China into a hub for EPD production. Yuen Foong Yu (YFY) Group, PVI’s parent company, will be one of the largest investors in Yangzhou, China. Transcend Optronics, the PVI subsidiary that produces TFT LCD panels and EPD backend modules, is also located in Yangzhou. By bringing downstream and upstream companies together development can be accelerated and costs reduced.

China’s e-book reader market is expected to be around two million units in 2010, more than double the 400,000 units that were sold in 2009. With a global market for e-book readers pegged at 10 million in 2010, China’s share is expected to grow from 10% in 2009 to 20% in 2010.