Renesas Technology Corp., Sharp Corporation, and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. have established a joint venture that specializes in drivers and controllers for small- and mid-size LCDs. Consolidating the business operations of Renesas Technology and Sharp in this field, the new company will engage in the design, development, sales, and marketing of LCD drivers and controllers. Business operations related to these products will be transferred to the new company starting April 2008 for Renesas Technology, and by the end of fiscal 2008 for Sharp. The new company started full operations on April 1, 2008.
In recent years, the market for LCD panels has grown exponentially, due to the growing popularity of LCD TVs, mobile phones with higher quality displays, and the use of LCDs in products such as car navigation systems and game consoles. A market study predicts near two-digit growth for the worldwide market. The market growth for small- and mid-size LCDs is expected to be especially strong because of the emergence of mobile phones. More mobile phones are required to support sophisticated multimedia capabilities such as built-in digital cameras and reception of TV programs to enable the mobile phones’ advanced functionality and higher picture quality standard. In addition, the demand for mobile phones is also accelerating in emerging markets such as the BRICs economies, notably China and India. As these conditions generate heavy demand for integration of driver and controller functions for small- and mid-size LCDs, market competition is expected to become increasingly fierce due to intensifying price competition and the emergence of fabless manufacturers overseas.
To respond to such growing competition, the three companies have agreed to establish a joint venture in order to realize improved cost competitiveness, increased design capabilities, more attractive products, and expanded sales. The new company is a fabless semiconductor manufacturer focusing on design, development, sales, and marketing. Powerchip Semiconductor, one of the investors in the new company, will handle most of the actual production, using its ultrafine process technology and production cost competitiveness. By maximizing its strengths as a fabless semiconductor manufacturer, the new company will strive to achieve stable growth in the field of drivers and controllers for small- and mid-size LCDs.