Taiwan LED Makers Target Automotive-application Market

Epistar, recently pulled aside the curtains to reveal a hint of its next big-time product late this year to boost revenue, with industry insiders guessing the new launch to be automotive LEDs.

Other major LED companies in Taiwan, including Everlight, Lextar, Unity Opto Technology, Formosa Epitaxy, are all reportedly aggressively developing business in this lucrative field with low profile.

Epistar's high-voltage LED successfully tapped into Philips' supply chain in 2012, and the company has been aggressively trying to widen the gap with its mainland Chinese rivals. Epistar chairman Lee Biing-jye says that his company plans to launch several new products this year, including the LED filament, high light-emission directionality LED lighting sources, and a secret product scheduled for the second quarter.

Epistar has successfully tapped into supply chains of German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW, though the Taiwanese company now supplies LED lighting for vehicle indicators. Today's cars typically require 30 to 40 types of LED lighting sources, meaning a market with high potential.

Industry insiders say that Epistar might have many business opportunities in the automotive-application LED market, including infrared LED in automotive night-vision systems, parking sensors, vehicle camera recorders etc.; as well as high-grade ultra-high brightness (UHB) LEDs in interior illumination, brake lights, directional lights, DRLs etc.. However, most operators eye the headlamp segment.

Lextar of Taiwan's AUO Group has reported some initial achievements in automotive LED, and begun delivering such products to the aftermarket. Unity Opto is developing the instrument cluster and DRL market; while Formosa Epitaxy is aggressively developing automotive-application products.

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