IBM, Chi Mei formally establish LCD joint venture

IBM Japan Ltd. and Taiwan's Chi Mei Corp. and Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. formally established a new company Thursday to take over ownership and running of IBM's LCD (liquid crystal display) manufacturing plant in Yasu, Japan.

The new company, International Display Technology, will begin operations on Monday, the three companies said in a statement.

The Yasu plant, which is part of IBM's Yasu campus, was one of two factories that produced LCD panels under a joint venture established by IBM Japan and Toshiba Corp. The joint venture was dissolved in August this year after Toshiba announced it would pull out of the venture to focus on mid-size and small-size panels. When the venture ended, Toshiba retained its LCD manufacturing plant in Himeji and the Yasu plant went back to IBM.

In July, IBM and the two Taiwanese companies first announced plans to form the new LCD manufacturing venture. The Chi Mei Group is the largest shareholder in the new company with 85 percent of the shares held between the two companies. IBM Japan holds the remaining 15 percent.

The Yasu plant is capable of producing 70,000 glass substrates, the material onto which LCD panels are built, per month. The substrates produced at the plant measure 550 by 650 millimeters. The plant is producing displays for notebook computers, which is an area Chi Mei where needs to expand its production capacity after it signed a deal with NEC Corp. earlier this year to supply the company with panels for its computers.

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