China Turns to Taiwan LED Makers to Save Electricity

China plans to tap Taiwanese companies to put LED (light emitting diode) technology into street lights in 10 Chinese cities, groups from both places said Thursday.

The project aims to cut electric bills in Chinese cities by using LED in city lights. LEDs give off less heat, consume less energy and last longer than traditional lights, according to China's National Semiconductor Lighting Industry Alliance, which oversees the project to light up China with LEDs. The technology is also inexpensive because it's used in a range of projects, from Christmas lights and the displays of alarm clocks, DVD players and digital music players, to the backlights in LCD laptop screens.

The agreement was part of deals signed at a two-day conference between LED industry leaders and government officials from Taiwan and China.

Delegates from the conference also signed a letter of intent to work together to promote LED technology, including in research, development, qualification and the creation of new standards. Over 200 Taiwanese companies and 71 Chinese companies took part in an exhibition related to the conference, and around 80 government officials from China attended the event, according to Taiwan's economics ministry.

The cooperation highlights increased cooperation between Taiwan and China over the past year. A new president elected last year in Taiwan has pushed forward a number of initiatives to strengthen ties with China, mainly economic, a far different tack than the previous administration, which advocated Taiwan independence. China and Taiwan separated in 1949 amid civil war, and China has vowed to attack if Taiwan moves toward formal independence.

A number of new policies have been implemented by the new administration in Taiwan, including direct flights between Taiwan and China for the first time in decades and greater business ties between the two places. Another example in the high tech area was last week, when Taiwan hosted the first ever China pavilion at the Computex Taipei 2009 electronics show.

LED sales to China's lighting industry stand to be big business for Taiwanese companies, according to investment firm CLSA Asia Pacific Markets in Taipei.

"The fast-growing economic growth in China will inevitably lead to urbanization and higher electric lighting consumption," said analyst Andrea Su, in a report on Thursday.

She believes China will increase spending on LED lighting to lower energy costs and that currently, lighting consumption per capita in China is only 10 percent that of North America.

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