By Lisa Wang and Angelica Oung / Staff reporters
LCD panelmaker AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) is planning to invest NT$91.08 billion (US$3.26 million) over the next few years to expand its capacity to domestically produce panels used in premium notebook computers, the Hsinchu-based company said on Tuesday.
The investment would be part of the company’s efforts to boost production resilience and safeguard market share, AUO said in a statement.
It aims to increase capacity at its 8.5-generation and 6-generation plants in Taichung, and produce more panels with advanced hyper viewing angle technology to satisfy prospective rising demand in the post-COVID-19 era, it said.
AUO also plans to spend NT$10 billion a year on the development of cutting-edge technologies and the enhancement of manufacturing capabilities, it said.
The panel maker has about 20,000 employees nationwide and is planning to create 2,700 new jobs, according to its four-year investment plan.
AUO also plans to expand panel manufacturing capacity in China to make low-temperature-poly-silicon panels (LTPS) used in high-end notebook computers, it said.
The company last quarter commanded about 60 to 70 percent of the world’s LTPS panel market, it said.
AUO on Tuesday received approval from the Investment Commission to invest US$617 million in its Chinese subsidiary in Kunshan, which would allow it to fully take over the subsidiary, of which it currently owns 51 percent, it said.
The commission also approved another US$384 million investment in the subsidiary, which would be used to expand the unit’s output to 47,000 units per month, it said.
“Given that the planned investment in Taiwan clearly exceeds the investment in China, we decided to approve AUO’s investment there,” the commission said. “As the Chinese subsidiary would handle simple manufacturing, we estimate that the risk of technology leakage is minimal.”
The commission also approved a China-bound investment of US$115 million by KGI Bank (凱基銀行), a subsidiary of China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控), to develop its consumer financial business in the nation.