Japanese optoelectronics shows strong growth

In its annual survey of the nations optoelectronics industry, the Optoelectronic Industry and Technology Development Association (OITDA; Tokyo, Japan) estimates output at ¥641.9 billion ($6.1 billion), a 13% increase from the previous year.

In its annual survey of the nations optoelectronics industry, the Optoelectronic Industry and Technology Development Association (OITDA; Tokyo, Japan) estimates output at ¥641.9 billion ($6.1 billion), a 13% increase from the previous year. The growth, topping the 6.6% growth the previous year, indicates that the decreasing growth rate pattern of the previous years has ended.

The high growth rate is attributable to several factors, according to the OITDA. Notably, there was an increase in production of displays, the emergence of large-screen products on the market, and the growth of optical devices for telecommunications, especially those related to internet growth. The OITDA believes that 2000 will see continued growth, with the total industry value reaching ¥751.7 billion ($7.15 billion)—which represents a 17.7% growth rate. Leading the way will be sales of display elements, optical networking equipment, DVD-related devices, and lasers and passive components for wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM).

The survey was based on 144 responses from 298 companies queried. Takeshi Kamiya, a University of Tokyo professor, led the effort. The OITDA believes that, effectively, more than 90% of the market was surveyed.

In 1999, for example, the overall growth of optical networking equipment grew 35.1%, with optical amplifiers increasing 390% (this growth was qualified by noting that it may reflect a one-time demand for undersea amplifiers). Demand for optical measurement devices, including optical spectrum analyzers, grew approximately 13%.

The market for medical lasers grew 17.2% because of the increased use of lasers in optometry and dentistry. In manufacturing, the demand for excimer lasers increased 91.4%, CO2 lasers by 3.8%, and solid-state lasers by 13.1%. Across the entire laser-manufacturing sector, total growth was approximately 44.7%, reaching ¥21.85 billion ($200 million).

Optical fiber actually experienced a 2.6% decline in market growth during 1999, but bundled fibers used as waveguides in medical imaging devices in North America grew 23.8%. The market for passive components for WDM grew 64.1%, with isolators (86.1%), attenuators (29.9%), muxes/demuxes (46.1%), and optical crossconnects (39.1%) in strong demand.

In other notes, the OITDA reported that domestic optoelectronics manufacturing companies produce approximately 20.3% of their output overseas, or ¥67.8 billion ($645 million) in value. This value was a 27% increase from the previous year.—W. Conard Holton

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