TAIWAN - Asustek is expected to outsource over 50% of its branded motherboard manufacturing to outside OEMs by the end of 2008, as well as outsourcing notebook products approximately 15%, according to an industry report citing predictions by electronic industry watchers.

According to the report, while Asustek and its division Unihan Technology have already separated, market watchers commented that the percentage of Asustek's product outsourcing to Unihan is still high, indicating that the spin-off is not complete.

Company president Jerry Shen pointed out that the company will prioritize the outsourcing of non-notebook products first.

ARLINGTON, VA - The Electronics Component Assembly and Materials Association (ECA) reports that most researchers are predicting the electronic components market in 2008 will grow at about the same rate or slightly better than 2007, with supply and demand for electronic components continuing to look good.

Following an increase in December, orders slowed in January, according to the ECA’s four-to-five week average index, continuing that the previous 12-month average remained relatively flat.

In addition, the Consumer Electronics Association predicted last month that the consumer products market will grow 6.1% this year, fueled by a 13% growth in TV sales, a 173% increase in next-generation DVD players, and 50% growth in video game consoles.

iSuppli also forecasts a 7% rise in worldwide electronics equipment revenue, driven primarily by data processing and wireless communications markets.

“Electronic components isn’t exactly a ‘teflon’ market, but it does have an uncanny ability to weather storms that damage other markets. I think a lot of credit can go to better management of supply chains based on the lessons learned from … the market at the turn of the century,” concluded Bob Willis, ECA president.

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PRAGUE, CZECHOSLOVAKIA - Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn is negotiating for the purchase of a plant in central Bohemia, according to industry sources.

According to reports, the company established its subsidiary Foxconn Technology in January, in order to work on a purchase. The company already has plants in Pardubice, eastern Bohemia, and Kutna Hora, central Bohemia.

Jim Chang, company president, said that the company is interested in buying a plant because of strong demand for computers and other electronics, adding that since it would not have time to build a plant, the company was looking to buy one already in operation.

Reports suggest that one possible purchase could be TV maker Changhong in Nymburk, central Bohemia, which began operations last year. Changhong did not comment on a possible sale.

Foxconn is one of the world's largest producers of electronic products, and the third largest Czech exporter, employing more than 300,000 in its plants around the world.

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GENEVA — The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the United States and the European Union and against China in an auto parts tariff dispute. This is the first time the WTO has ruled against China in a trade dispute. 

The WTO panel acknowledged the U.S., Canadian and EU claims related to auto components tariffs. They agreed the tariffs discriminated against foreign automakers assembling cars in China, and therefore was contrary to WTO rules.

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