On July 21, 2010 Corning announced it will invest approximately US$800 million to construct a new LCD glass substrate facility in the China (press release). Corning will locate the new facility in the Beijing Digital TV Industry Park within the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area. The manufacturing plant will have up to Gen 8.5 glass-melting and finishing capabilities with groundbreaking planned for September and production expected to commence in the first half of 2012.
Corning’s investments include expanding capacity its Eagle XG LCD glass substrates and Gorilla glass. The company has restarted an expansion project at its Taichung, Taiwan LCD glass facility and is ramping up idled capacity at its facility in Shizuoka, Japan to manufacture Gorilla glass. Now, Corning will expand further in Taichung with additional capacity projected for the first half of 2012.
Corning expects Gorilla glass sales to exceed US$200 million this year in its Specialty Materials segment, and estimates that sales could reach approximately US$1 billion annually by 2011. Demand for Gorilla glass is coming primarily from TV cover glass applications.
LCD TV is expected to continue its growth as market penetration grows in markets such as Asia and South America. The technology replacement cycle in mature markets is expected to accelerate according to Corning.
Corning also expects China to become one of the largest consumers of LCD TVs as well as a major region for LCD panel manufacturing especially for TV applications in the next several years. Corning has a long-term commitment to the China market.
Interestingly Corning noted higher-than-expected retail demand for LCD televisions, notebook PCs, and desktop computers resulting in an improved outlook throughout the remainder of the year. Corning believes annual LCD glass demand could be at the higher end of its forecast range of 2.9 billion square feet to 3.1 billion square feet this year. Corning has increased its forecast of capex to approximately $1.2 billion in 2010, up from its previous estimate of $1 billion.