Applied Materials partners up with BOE Technology

Updated: 2013-08-13 07:24

By Yu Wei in San Francisco (China Daily)

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California-based Applied Materials Inc, a leading semiconductor, display and solar photovoltaic equipment manufacturer, has further cemented its presence in China by teaming up with China-based BOE Technology Group Co, the largest flat panel display manufacturer in China.

The partnership was formed when BOE placed significant orders for advanced display production equipment from Applied Materials in support of demand at multiple facilities in China.

Applied Materials' PiVot physical vapor deposition and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition systems selected by BOE provide high-performance, cost-effective solutions to manufacturing high-resolution amorphous silicon, metal oxide and low temperature poly-silicon displays, the company said in a news release.

The release said these systems can significantly increase production and achieve the same economies of scale that enabled the cost of liquid crystal display TVs to fall by more than 95 percent over the past decade.

"BOE is one of the most important customers for Applied Materials in China. We are happy to have a very close relationship with BOE," said Brian Shieh, corporate vice-president and general manager of display products.

"The China market is becoming an increasingly important market for Applied Materials, especially TVs," Shieh said. "China is almost becoming the TV manufacturing center for the entire world."

China, which is already the largest market for flat-screen TVs, has also become the world's largest market for smartphones. The nation accounted for one-third of global smartphone shipments in the second quarter, which totaled 238 about million units, according to Canalys research.

China's booming TV and smartphone markets offer significant opportunities for Applied Materials, which supplies equipment used to make TVs, smartphones and tablet displays.

Max McDaniel, Applied Materials' chief marketing officer for displays, said the market was basically divided into two segments - TV and mobile.

McDaniel noted some interesting trends, such as the rapid growth in higher resolution screens for mobile devices.

"In order to make these higher resolution screens, you need more advanced manufacturing technology. This is quite a positive trend, not just for our customers, but also for us, since our customers require more of our equipment," he explained.

"If our customers in China grow, we expect to grow with them," he said.

China has long been a core part of Applied Materials development strategy.

The company has maintained a strong presence in China since 1984, when it became the first chip producer to set up a service and support center in the country.

The company has since expanded to 12 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Xi'an.

Now that growth has returned in orders for display equipment, Applied Materials doesn't want to miss any opportunities.

"China is not only becoming the most important end market for TV and mobile displays," McDaniel said. "The display manufacturing center of gravity" is also moving toward China.

"So this is allowing our Chinese customers to grow very rapidly and make more investments there and this is supporting our growth as well," he said.