Toshiba Vice President: LED lighting focuses on modules rather than chips

In Japan, LED lighting has shown a general trend of popularity as large electrical manufacturers have introduced products to the market. In this field, Toshiba, an old manufacturer of lighting fixtures, is ambitious and strives to bring sales to 350 billion yen by 2015. A few days ago, the reporter interviewed Mr. Muromachi, the executive vice president of the company, who attended the "Green Device 2009" on the prospect of Toshiba's lighting business.

What strategy is needed to win in the LED lighting business? In semiconductors (Toshiba ranks third in the world), the key to mastering is micronization technology and investment scale.

LED lighting is a business that is far from the semiconductor. It is important to achieve differentiation through technology, but the use and market are also very important. Therefore, it is necessary to find suitable partners in areas where the company has not yet entered. Among them, we attach great importance to the development of the European and Chinese markets and have been studying the strategies for acquiring these markets. In terms of existing lighting equipment, extensive sales channels have been established before, which will also become our advantage in the LED lighting business.

Is the possibility of a product effect with the semiconductor business not too great?

This is not the case. The LED lighting business is able to leverage the experience gained through semiconductors. In the field of LED lighting, we are currently focusing on modules rather than chips, but there are many parts of the technology that are identical to semiconductor post-processes (packages). Although it is slow to start with LED chips, it will actively work in the future to include it in its business scope.

Including the involvement of overseas manufacturers, LED lighting will become a highly competitive product area.

Korean manufacturers are quite active, and the competition will be very cruel. We are ready for this. Efforts in the last two or three years will determine the success or failure of the business. LED lighting has a long life, which is why it is difficult to turn over once the market is occupied by competitors. In this area, we will strive to establish the status of the first supplier. To this end, we will invest 100 billion yen in operating resources by 2015. This amount is only a relatively small size compared to equipment investment in the semiconductor business.

In addition, it may be necessary to start with human resources, such as research on how to transfer semiconductor technicians to growth areas such as LED lighting. In this field, we are new to the manufacturers, in a sense, can be lightly loaded. In the future, we will take advantage of this and compete with leading manufacturers.

In order to popularize LED lighting, what measures do manufacturers need to take?

It is important to effectively communicate the benefits of LED lighting to consumers. From now on, LED lighting will not be halved every year like NAND-type flash memory. Despite this, the energy-saving effect of LED lighting is still very large. For example, from the cost-effectiveness ratio, the energy-saving benefits of LED lighting may be better than solar cells.

Toshiba Representative Executive Vice President Muromachi Masahiro

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