Shanghai Tianma Microelectronics will start installing equipment at a 4.5-generation (4.5G) TFT LCD plant in July 2007, with volume production to commence in the first half of 2008, according to market rumors.

The plant, established in the second quarter of 2006, is scheduled to have an initial monthly capacity of 25,000 glass substrates and will mainly provide small- to medium-size panels, according to industry makers.

The maker started building STN LCD lines in 2003 and used to focus on handset-use panels using the technology. However, with more vendors adopting TFT LCDs in the handset industry, Shanghai Tianma has changed its focus to TFT LCD panels, the makers said.

Shanghai SVA-NEC Liquid Crystal Display (SVA-NEC) has already started volume production of 5G TFT LCD panels nearby, and after production starts at Shanghai Tianma's 4.5G plant, a more complete supply chain at the area will begin developing, the makers indicated.