Investment LED Emerging Industry Cannot Overlook Intellectual Property Risk

LED industry into the climax of investment

When Yu Yuxian decided to resolutely invest large sums of money in the LED industry six years ago, there are still some people who are sorry for her. “If you originally invested in real estate, you can now be incredible!”

Up to now, Fujian Hongbo Group, the chairman of Yu Yuxian, has invested 260 million yuan in its subsidiary Hongbo Optoelectronics for the development and production of LED light sources, application lamps and display screens.

Hongbo Group started printing and is currently one of the largest commercial paper printing companies in China. When the company chose LED as a new strategic investment focus, it was at the stage of exploration and was costly. At that time, people were jokingly called “printing money on the first floor and burning money on the second floor”. Through several years of accumulation, Hongbo's various series of LED lighting fixtures were purchased by IKEA, Carrefour and other international buyers, becoming the key energy-saving products recommended by the government. This has further strengthened Yu Yuxian's confidence in further expanding the LED industry. “We are now planning a Fujian Hongbo Optoelectronics Park with an area of ​​134,000 square meters and a total planned investment of 560 million yuan. We expect to complete the construction in 2015.” Yu Yuxian said.

During the interview in Fujian, the LED business owner interviewed by the reporter turned to be one of Yu Yuxian. It can be seen that the vast market prospects of LEDs are hugely attractive to capital.

Harmony Optoelectronics Technology (Quanzhou) Co., Ltd. is an LED packaging and application product company. Its owner Cai Xu Japan is a clothing business person. Cai Xuri, who has been doing clothing business for more than 20 years, decided to invest in LED in 2007, which is to identify LED's. Big market. Cai Xuri said: “I have done a lot of research in the early days and decided to invest in LED. Energy conservation and environmental protection are the major trends. After making a decision, I attended junior high school class meetings. Many of our classmates are open factories in their own factories. I asked one. In the circle, none of them are doing such a high technology.” Cai Xuri expects that the LED application market will be rolled out within five years.

Cai Xuri’s judgment on the market has also been verified by relevant industry experts. It is estimated that in 2015 China's LED lighting output value will reach 500 billion yuan, accounting for more than 30% of the general lighting market.

In Fujian, many commercial capitals value LED industry development opportunities. As of the end of 2010, there were more than 250 LED companies in Fujian, mainly located in Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou, and other regions, and the regional industrial clustering effect was already apparent. Among them, Xiamen is the country's largest LED industry base, the first four semiconductor lighting engineering industrialization bases, and the largest LED epitaxial wafer and chip production base in China. In 2010, the LED industry in Fujian achieved a production value of 13 billion yuan, an increase of 45% over the same period of the previous year.

Intellectual property challenges industrial nerves

In fact, not only China's LED industry is on the eve of widespread adoption, but the global LED industry is also in the popular rising range. But when it comes to exporting, most LED companies interviewed by reporters are worried.

Liu Jieming, vice chairman of the China Electronics Enterprise Association and chairman of the Fujian Electronic Information Group, told reporters that the LED industry chain from the top down to the substrate, epitaxial wafers, chips, packages, and finally to the application, technical content from high to low. At present, in the field of LED lighting, the upstream core technologies are controlled by the giants of Japan, Japan, USA, Cree, OSRAM and other developed countries in Europe, America and Japan. The well-known brands of downstream products are also in the hands of international giants such as Philips, OSRAM and Panasonic. Intellectual property rights are basically monopolized by them.

Taking the LED chip with high technical content as an example, in 2010, the sales volume of LED chips in Japan was about 3.3 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 45% of the global market. In contrast, China's 2010 epitaxial wafers and chip output totaled about 4 billion yuan, of which the localization rate is still less than 50%, which is less than 4% of the global market share. Taking the company as an example, the German OSRAM family holds about 8,000 patents and has its own core technology patents at each stage of the LED industry chain.

Xiamen Sanan Optoelectronics Co., Ltd. is currently the largest LED chip manufacturer in China and ranks fourth in Asia. Several technologies with independent intellectual property rights have filled the domestic gap. So far, Sanan Optoelectronics has applied for 131 patents, of which 98 domestic invention patents, 33 have been authorized, and applied for 8 international invention patents (of which 1 were authorized). As a leading company in China's LED upstream technology, Sanan Optoelectronics is still not dare to slack off its intellectual property rights. Ke Yongrui, special assistant to the chairman of San'an Optoelectronics, told reporters that since semiconductor technology has a history of decades of development internationally, many original inventions cannot be bypassed until the patent expires. “The international giants have joined forces through patent cross-licensing, and our number of intellectual property rights is still very limited, and it is difficult to qualify for integration into their circles. In addition to increasing R&D, we will increase production capacity and expand the market. This is also accompanied by an increase in the pressure and risk of intellectual property rights."

Ke Yongrui’s concern is well-founded. Some analysts believe that the reason why the world’s giants haven’t “cutting a knife” to China’s LED companies is because the capacity of Chinese companies has not been as large as the size of their “moving knife”. Therefore, the more leading companies like Sanan Optoelectronics, the more cautious they are. According to Shao Xiaojuan, manager of information management department of Sanan Optoelectronics Technology Center, Sanan Optoelectronics now has a database of nearly 170,000 patent information patents, and it is updated weekly to provide a comprehensive and timely understanding of the patent situation of the entire industry.

Mr. He Wenming, chairman of Wanbang Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. in Putian, Fujian Province, is also worried about building a patent network for foreign companies. In April 2008, more than 30 companies, including four Chinese companies, received a “337 investigation” because of an LED patent. Although Wanbang was not included, it was enough to make He Wenming highly vigilant. Since then, He Wenming has decided to gradually transform from the LED midstream packaging business with more patent disputes to LED application lighting with less patent disputes, and increase research and development efforts. At the same time, through the local government, he has formed a partnership with the Fujian Institute of Materials Structure, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Strategic Partners. He told reporters that the cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences was very successful. In May and June of this year, they had two major breakthroughs in technology and both belong to the basic core technology of LED applications. They have already begun to apply for domestic and international patents. More chips.

Can Fujian and Taiwan Cooperation Create a New Road?

Huang Shengbang, the general manager of Hongbo Optoelectronics, is a Taiwanese. He once worked for the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute. When he was dug up from Taiwan by Yu Yuxian last year, he even caused the industry's LED industry to shake. Huang Shengbang said that he was attracted by the platform provided by Hongbo Optoelectronics. "The 134,000 square meters of LED optoelectronic industrial park is a great space for development. Such an opportunity is difficult to find in Taiwan," Huang Shengbang said. Thanks to the joining of Huang Shengbang, a group of Taiwan LED technology talents have also come to Hongbo for R&D.

Not only Hong Bo, due to geographic advantages, many LED companies in Fujian have R & D strength to join or have cooperation with Taiwan.

Liu Jieming said: “There is a strong complementarity between the LED industries of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The mainland market is large and there are many downstream application products, especially LED lighting and lighting products. There are many manufacturers and the product line is abundant. This is an advantage; Taiwan is in the middle and upper reaches, from LED materials to epitaxial wafers, chips, in the upper reaches of the field is much stronger than ours.” According to Sanan photoelectric Ke Yongrui estimated that the LED light-emitting effect as a reference, the mainland and Taiwan's technical level difference of 3 months. Since Taiwan has been in contact with semiconductors earlier, it does have certain technological advantages.

Just about seven or eight years ago, Taiwan was also under pressure from European, American and Japanese companies in the intellectual property rights of LED. Huang Shengbang said: “The big company has taken hundreds of patent threats at every turn, saying that you invaded his rights. But in fact, The careful analysis of their patents is not as serious as they say. In recent years, Taiwan has been able to negotiate intellectual property rights with them by increasing its research and development and patent accumulation.

Because Taiwan’s LED industry has already dealt with foreign counterparts on intellectual property issues, they are also more experienced in intellectual property management. Liu Guangrong, president of Fujian New Century Electronic Materials Co., Ltd., told reporters that since they introduced professional managers in Taiwan, the management of the company’s intellectual property has also greatly improved. Wu Zhaojun, the company’s deputy general manager from Taiwan, said: “In terms of intellectual property, The cross-strait history is similar, and Taiwan has already formed a set of intellectual property management models that can serve as a reference for mainland companies."

Luo Xuan, the director of Fujian Provincial Intellectual Property Office, led the senior management team of Fujian enterprises to Taiwan for three years on intellectual property rights. "I will bring delegations to Taiwan next month. This is Fujian's natural advantage, and it is close to it." Luo Xuan said.

The geopolitical advantages of Fujian and Taiwan have indeed been evident in the development of the electronics industry in Fujian in recent years. In recent years, by hosting cross-strait industry project matchmaking meetings, Taiwanese businessmen and industry intermediaries have inspected investment activities such as photovoltaic industry parks, seminars, and fairs in Fujian Province. A group of Taiwanese enterprises that produce high-end LED chips and application products have settled in Fujian. According to the survey results of the National Bureau of Statistics Fujian Survey Corps, as of May 2010, Taiwan has invested more than 40 projects in the LED industry in Fujian.

With the construction of the Hercynian Economic Zone, the complementary integration of Fujian and Taiwan in the LED industry is an inevitable trend. However, it remains to be seen whether or not we can join forces in the field of intellectual property.