The global LED industry benefited from emerging lighting market demands, but the LED backlight industry has entered a mature plateau phase. Price wars intensified in mainstream LED chip and application sectors, turning into an overtly competitive red sea market. In 2015, global LED market value declined for the first time by 3% to US $14.33 billion, according to statistics compiled by LEDinside, a research division of Taipei-based market research institute TrendForce.
Certain LED manufacturers are swapping strategies following changes in the industry, while a couple of large LED manufacturers are actively seeking new blue sea markets to facilitate market strategies in sectors including LED filament bulbs, automotive LEDs, grow lights, smart lighting, IR/UV, micro-LED and other innovative and special lighting application markets.
Epistar is one of the leading LED EPI-wafer manufacturers in China and Taiwan, and possesses certified LED patents and intellectual property network. The company is a veteran in product portfolio, and in the face of new market conditions, Epistar implemented a dual track strategy, where the company deploys its business strategy in conventional lighting and backlight markets, the other track focuses on market strategies in niche lighting applications. Epistar’s developments in innovative lighting markets and current conditions are worth exploring, said the company’s Marketing Center project director HK Chen.
Epistar establishes footing with strong LED filament patent portfolio
Similar to hit singles on an album, LED filaments were Epistar’s “featured song” at Guangzhou International Lighting Show 2016 (GILS 2016). LED filaments took the center spotlight at the company’s booth in Guangzhou this year.
Epistar is one of the pioneers in the LED filament industry, and acquired transparent substrate related patents as early as 2007. The Taiwanese manufacturer has invested resources in LED filament technology for years to improve filament efficiency.
Benefiting from its long term LED filament R&D and patent strategy deployment, the company possesses comprehensive LED chip and filament patents, as well as LED filament bulb structure patents. The company is licensing its patents to manufacturers in the midstream and downstream sector of the LED industry to advance its clients market competitiveness. Moreover, Epistar’s close partnership and long term collaboration with China’s largest LED package manufacturer MLS, has made the Chinese company one of its most important clients. Epistar’s LED filaments are only being sold to MLS, and the Taiwanese company is evaluating whether to take the cooperation to the next level. Epistar has licensed its LED filaments to three important Chinese LED lighting manufacturers Leedarson, Foshan Lighting, and Jinn Yang Technology (Jinn Yang). Jinn Yang is a joint venture set up by Epistar and Yuzhong Gaohong Lighting Electrical Equipment (YGLEE) that initially specialized in bulb manufacturing, with roots in incandescent bulb manufacturing. The company is a veteran in bulb manufacturing and production lines. Epistar supplies LED chips to Jinn Yang, which is then manufactured into LED filaments, and finally handed over to YGLEE for retail. The division of work benefits both companies.
Current issues in the LED filament market include “premature price wars in spite of immature technology.” According to Epistar, the plunging prices in the LED filament market is triggered by the lack of respect for intellectual property in the industry. In comparison, market prices of products with intellectual property are relatively stable. Additionally, products with guaranteed quality, volume, and aesthetics can also boost its market competiveness and value.
In the export market, patent protected LED filament bulbs are more likely to be procured by distributors.
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