Corning begins work on Taiwan LCD facility

Demand for flat-panel devices means that the time is ripe for factories to churn out more glass.

Encouraged by the demand for LCDs, glassmaker Corning on Thursday said it has broken ground for a second manufacturing facility in Taiwan.

The new factory at the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung is likely to go into operation in the third quarter of next year and will see its capacity expand through 2006, the company said. Corning has committed nearly $750 million to the first phase of getting the facility online to produce the Generation 5.5 and Generation 6 glass substrates from which liquid crystal displays will be built.

The company has said it expects the global market for LCD glass, as measured in square feet, to grow by about 60 percent this year. Annual growth of LCD glass is likely to be in a range of 40 percent to 60 percent through 2006.

The demand will be driven mainly by LCD monitors, notebook computers, LCD televisions and screens measuring less than 10 diagonal inches, the company said.

"The industry is migrating toward the use of larger-generation glass substrates," James Clappin, general manager for Corning Display Technologies, said in a statement. "With this additional site, Corning expects to be in step with our customers here in Taiwan and on a worldwide basis, effectively utilizing our technology, processes and people to support the production of high-quality LCDs."