Foxconn’s Subsidiary GIS Expands Business in Mini LED Backlight Modules, Ready for Mass Production

Apple has recently announced its top 200 suppliers, among which Foxconn’s subsidiary GIS is on the list for the first time. Since Apple expelled OFilm from its supplier list, the top two Taiwanese touch panel manufacturers, TPK and GIS, have received increasing orders. In recent years, GIS has strived to develop its notebook panel module business including producing panel modules for MacBook, which has driven the company’s growth. This year, GIS and Sharp have together provided new Mini-LED-backlit iPads as well as MacBook SMT, backlighting, and module assembly services, further creating growth momentum in 2021.

Between March and April, GIS maintained its revenue of more than NT$10 billion (US$360 million), with the consolidated revenue in January–April reaching NT$35.875 billion (US$1.29 billion; 8.2% YoY). According to institutional investors, because GIS has focused on developing Mini LED backlighting for years, the company can provide a complete service portfolio from the production of iPad Pro backlight modules, panel modules, to touch panel modules. Therefore, GIS has a higher unit price per order. Following an order increase due to the new iPad Pro launch, GIS is projecting to achieve two-digit growth in 2Q21, expecting a quarterly revenue bounce-back to NT$30 billion (US$1.08 billion).

GIS estimates that demand for tablets and notebooks will remain strong thanks to the booming stay-at-home economy. Moreover, new product releases among its clients have driven the Q2 growth of GIS, enabling the company to achieve better revenue performance than Q1.

Image source: PAIXIN.COM

Despite being one of Apple’s major touch panel providers, GIS lost smartphone touch panel orders due to the big tech company’s decision to fully adopt OLED panels for iPhones last year. Nevertheless, Apple cut ties with OFilm, a Chinese competitor, and turned to place orders from GIS and TPK for iPad production, enabling the two Taiwanese providers to maintain their revenue.

Additionally, GIS has actively expanded its business in notebook panel modules. Last year, orders of MacBook panels surged, while panel prices soared, consequently stimulating growth of notebook-panel-related revenue. Because of increases in iPad- and MacBook-related incomes, GIS has made its first entry into Apple’s top 200 list.

GIS expects further operational growth this year. Following the increasing use of biometric authentication (e.g., fingerprint sensors) in smartphones, GIS has gained sufficient know-how and experience in ultrasound fingerprint sensing, making it a leader in the panel industry. In 2021, GIS plans to develop technologies and production capacity of optical and capacitive fingerprint sensors, with the hope of diversifying its technological solutions and application demand. Concerning touch displays, the business is going to invest in the development of Mini LED backlight modules in 2021, aiming to realize mass production of finished prototypes.

In the future, GIS will develop cutting-edge technologies for production and material integration, including modules of large-size applications, 3D curves, and flexible touch panels. As for automotive application, the company continues developing differentiated technologies and products such as highly reliable technology, curved surface products, and interior integration solutions. (Source: Commercial Times)

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