Apple investing $332 mil. in display tech plant in Taiwan: report

12, May. 2020

Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash
Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash

TAIPEI, NNA - Apple Inc. is investing up to NT$10 billion ($332 million) in a new plant to produce advanced MiniLED and MicroLED display technologies in a strategic partnership with two Taiwan makers, according to a local news report.

It said the U.S. consumer electronics mobile giant will collaborate with Taiwan’s major panel maker AUO Optronics Corp. (AUO) and LED manufacturer Epistar Corp. in the venture. They will also carry out research and development of next-generation displays that could be used in devices such as smartphone and smartwatch.

The plant is expected to be located in Longtan Science Park in the northern city of Hsinchu and close to the Apple Taiwan’s 2014-built laboratory, according to the report. Administrative authority Hsinchu Science Park Bureau had already given Apple the approval to build a plant there, added the report.

NNA has contacted Apple Taiwan but its media officer declined to comment on the investment sum or project.

In April, Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, said in a media statement that the company would continue to make significant investments in all areas of their business.

Apple reported fiscal 2020 second-quarter (January-March) revenue of $58.3 billion, an increase of 1 percent from the year-ago quarter.

“Despite Covid-19’s unprecedented global impact, we’re proud to report that Apple grew for the quarter, driven by an all-time record in services and a quarterly record for wearables,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in the statement of results in April.

When contacted by NNA, an AUO public relations officer also declined to comment on the partnership with Apple.

In April, AUO and PlayNitride Inc., a nitride-related material research and development firm in Taiwan, launched an industry-pioneering high-resolution MicroLED display technology that they had jointly developed.

"This advanced micro LED display delivers extremely high dynamic range with stunning high saturation of bright colors. It has excellent weather resistance under high brightness ambient conditions, and is especially suitable for future car displays that demand both reliability and design," said AUO in its statement.

It added that the highly flexible MicroLED display is also suitable for diverse applications including wearables and other consumer devices.

AUO had also said then that it would continue to work with strategic partners to invest in the development of advanced display technologies and create trends with its innovative R&D capabilities.

LED epitaxial wafer and chip maker Epistar, which has been in business for 24 years, has allocated a capex budget of up to NT$6 billion for 2020 mainly to increase output capacities for its products such as MiniLED chips and MiniLED backlight units to meet rising demand.

MicroLED and MiniLED are forms of LED (Light Emitting Diode) used in electronic displays for television, computer monitor, smartphone and wearable device.