"Information appliances are booming in the post-PC area, thanks to the change in market structure caused by the popularity and increasing use of the Internet.
"Since Internet service providers (ISPs) offer services along with information appliance equipment to their clients, the devices have emerged to become the driving force of the market.
"According to the statistics released by Taiwan's Institute for Information Industry (III), thin client devices, network TVs, Internet screen phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) have become the four most popular products of the local information appliances industry.
"Taiwanese manufacturers produced 305 million units of thin client devices in 1999, with production value totaling US$67 million. A Windows-based terminal is the core part of a thin client device, with WYSE Technology Taiwan Ltd. and Acer Inc. being the major manufacturers of those terminals.
"Taiwan produced 500,000 units of network TVs this year, with production value estimated at US$99 million, accounting for 11.67 percent of the global market. Major manufacturers include Acer, Mitac International Corp., Tatung Co., Ltd. and Proton Electric Corp. Original equipment manufacturing takes up the bulk of the business.
"Acer, Taiwan Telecommunication Industry Co., Chu Shuo Industrial Ltd. and Universal Microelectronics Co., Ltd. are the main producers of Internet screen phones in Taiwan, enjoying a total 3.18 percent global market share. Those companies manufacture ISDN and PSTN phones, with production value estimated at US$14 million this year.
"PDAs are enjoying growing popularity in Taiwan. Leo Computer Corp., Mitac International Corp. and Inventec Corp. are engaged in the production of PDAs equipped with CE operating systems.
"III Market Intelligence Center predicts that the output of Taiwan's IA industry is likely to grow 81 percent annually to US$1.39 billion by 2002. Since interactive TV and wideband communications are to become the trend in the future, III analysts predict that service providers may offer settop boxes at NT$1 to attract consumers.