Panel, chip demand push up Taiwan tech sales in February
Smartphone makers Asustek and HTC flail in ferocious competition
DEBBY WU, Nikkei staff writer
TAIPEI -- Sales of major Taiwanese tech companies rose in February on robust demand for panels and semiconductors.
Eighteen out of the 19 Taiwanese tech companies monitored by Nikkei Asian Review enjoyed a hike in their revenue in February, with Asustek being the only exception. Overall revenue of the 19 companies advanced 12.32% year-over-year to 764.13 billion New Taiwan dollars ($24.7 billion) in the past month.
The significant increase in overall revenue was partly aided by the fact that there were more working days in the past month than the same period last year as the extended Chinese New Year holiday fell in January this year but was in February last year.
Still, overall revenue of the 19 Taiwanese tech companies rose 6.48% year-over-year in the first two months of 2017.
In February, smartphone camera lens maker Largan Precision Industry, a key Apple supplier, and two major Taiwanese liquid crystal display (LCD) screen makers Innolux and AU Optronics reported the strongest gain in sales among 19 companies on NAR's watchlist.
Largan Precision posted a 69.46% increase in sales of NT$3.45 billion.
Innolux, a Foxconn subsidiary, and AU Optronics continued to benefit from Samsung's decision last year to close its LCD facilities to focus on the development of advanced organic light-emitting display (OLED) technology, which is set to be adopted by the iPhone's 10th anniversary edition this year.
Innolux's sales advanced 64.86% in February to NT$27.41 billion, and AU Optronics reported revenue of NT$29.13 billion, rising 41.64% year-over-year. Both companies mainly supply panels to large TV and mid-tier smartphone makers in China.
Semiconductor companies also had a solid month due to demand from Chinese customers, although market watchers warn that smartphone makers in China may be cutting orders later this year.
Revenue of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, rose 19.94% to NT$71.42 billion. Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, the world's largest chip assembler, posted a 19.54% gain in its revenue of NT$21.09 billion in February.
MediaTek, the largest mobile chip supplier to China, saw its revenue rise 28% on the year to NT$16.95 billion in February. But its combined revenue in January and February only increased 2.01% year-over-year, reflecting its intensifying battle with U.S. rival Qualcomm in the Chinese market.
Key Apple assemblers Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn and Pegatron, meanwhile, had a quiet start in 2017, as the first half of the year is traditionally considered to be their low season.
Foxconn's revenue rose 3.18% year-over-year in February to NT$289.58 billion, and its sales in the first two months in 2017 gained 2.69%.
While Pegatron's sales rose 14.47% year-on-year last month to NT$75.23 billion, its combined revenue in January and February in fact dropped 1.66% compared with the same period in 2016.
Against Taiwan's electronics parts maker and assemblers though, local tech brands are grappling with a faltering position in the global mid-tier smartphone market.
Asustek's revenue in February slipped 10.10% year-over-year, and its combined sales in the first two months in 2017 fell 10.63% on the year.
HTC's sales in February rose 11.17% from the year-ago period, but its combined revenue in the first two months of this year dropped 12.58% year-over-year.