Demand for TFT-LCD panels in China has tripled over the last 3 years, and the country already accounts for over 20% of the global market. However, less than 5% of the flat panel displays used globally are manufactured today in China.
To supply this fast-growing market, TFT-LCD manufacturers from Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China are requesting permits to invest in new manufacturing plants in China, with the support of provincial government and authorities. China Electronics Corporation (CEC), the largest state-owned electronics and IT company, is one of the new players entering this market.
In this context, Air Liquide has just signed a long-term contract with Nanjing CEC Panda LCD Technology Corporation (CEC Panda, a subsidiary of CEC) for its new 6-generation Flat Panel Display (FPD) fab in the new Nanjing Crystal Valley, the capital city of Jiangsu Province. This fab will be one of the most advanced 6-generation FPD fabs in China, with a total investment of 13.8 billion Rmb (€1.5 billion).
Under the terms of the agreement, Air Liquide will supply to CEC Panda a turnkey solution including ultra high purity carrier gases (nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, argon and helium), as well as turnkey specialty Gas Equipment & Installation and related on-site gas management Services.
Air Liquide will invest in a new nitrogen production facility, designed and built by Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, to produce above 230 tonnes per day, using the latest technologies in terms of energy efficiency, safety and reliability. The start-up is scheduled for July 2011.
Sun Xuejun, Vice General Manager of Nanjing CEC Panda LCD Technology Corporation, said: “We are greatly impressed by Air Liquide’s strong expertise in Electronic gases. Air Liquide has understood our needs and can provide state-of-the-art solutions. We look forward to a close cooperation with Air Liquide and to benefit from its worldwide capabilities.”
Xu Zhiguo, Assistant Director of Nanjing Economical and Technological Development Zone, said: “We are happy to have Air Liquide settled as the first industrial gas company in Crystal Valley, to improve the infrastructure of industrial gases in the Zone and serve more customers in the near future.”
Francisco Martins, Vice-President World Business Line Electronics of the Air Liquide Group, commented: “We are very honored to start a cooperation with a leading company like CEC. This new long-term contract reinforces our position in the fast-growing Chinese TFT-LCD industry and confirms the competitiveness of our gases and services offer. High-Tech and Emerging economies such as China are long-term growth drivers for the Group.”
Air Liquide Electronics
With over 3,000 employees and €872 million revenue in 2009, Air Liquide Electronics has activities in ultra-pure and specialty gases, new molecules, related equipment, and customized services.
The Electronics division management is based in Tokyo to enhance its proximity to the semiconductor, TFT-LCD and PV markets in Asia.
Air Liquide in China
operates today more than 30 large plants and employs more than 2,500 people, with a presence in the key coastal industrial areas, while expanding into the west and the northeast.
Air Liquide has also strong Engineering capabilities through Air Liquide Hangzhou and Lurgi.
Air Liquide returned to China in the 1970s to supply air separation units and restarted gas operations in 1990.
The use of gases in the Flat Panel Display industry
Different high purity gases are used to manufacture Thin Film Transistors – Liquid Cristal Display (TFT-LDC) at the heart of the FDP technology. Gases are used at all stages of the flat panel manufacturing process.