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19 November 2007


Arasor and ZTE form $300m laser display JV

Optoelectronic chip, module and subsystem maker Arasor International Ltd of Mountain View, CA, USA and China’s largest listed telecoms equipment maker, ZTE Corp, have formed a 51:49 joint venture that is claimed to be the world’s first entity dedicated to the global deployment of applications based on laser-based display technology.

The aim is to develop commercial products for TVs, projectors and mobile displays (including cellular phones, PDAs and notebooks). Manufacturing will take place at Arasor, ZTE and joint facilities in China. The laser source will use Arasor’s optoelectronic chip; each source will require a set of three chips representing primary colors red, green and blue.

Arasor’s CEO, Dr Simon Cao, believes that the joint venture will accelerate the deployment of laser-based display applications, starting with TVs and projectors and eventually all forms of cellular phones.

The firm says that the agreement provides it with large-scale external funding for laser development and production, a channel to market with one of the world’s largest handset providers, and extensive and scalable manufacturing capacity.

In phase 1 (from 2008 to 2010), the China Development Bank will provide financing of up to $300m. Production is expected to start in second-half 2008, then ramp up to 6 million laser sources and 2.4 million light engines for cellular phones per annum.

Planning for Phase 2 (from 2011 to 2012) has started and will be based on key benchmarks achieved during Phase 1.

“Partnering with ZTE and the China Development Bank will provide all of the necessary commercial and financial support required to complete the supply chain and ensure the accelerated penetration of laser displays into the global markets,” says Cao. “As the largest provider of mobile handsets in China, ZTE makes the perfect cornerstone customer for the JV.”

“This joint venture will leverage the combination of ZTE’s global reach, Arasor’s core laser display technologies, and the financial strength of the China Development Bank to propel the acceptance of state-of-the-art laser display applications on a worldwide basis,” says ZTE senior VP Yong Yu. It will also provide ZTE with a key competitive advantage in commercializing the products, he adds.

“Laser technology will be at the heart of next-generation display light sources that will provide consumers with a full range of benefits, including access to an enhanced spectrum of colors, significantly lower power consumption, a larger range of screen sizes and overall product cost savings,” reckons Cao.

See related items:

Arasor set to acquire Alfalight and AOFR to bring laser and coupler components in-house