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GE Expects to Improve LED Lighting Sales by 60 per cent in Asia Next Year

Aug 22, 2013

It is reported that General Electric intends to nearly double its LED lighting business in Asia next year from last year, accelerating the trend towards light-emitting diodes as the new primary lighting source.

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"This year we'll improve LED sales in Asia by 26%. For me, this is still much too slow. Next year, we aim to increase it by 60%," Henry Eng, president and chief executive of GE Light Asia, expressed on August 20 in an interview.

LED is set to "revolutionize" the lighting industry worldwide. From accounting for just 18% of the US$66-billion (Bt2.1 trillion) lighting market last year, LED is forecast to dominate as much as 70% of the $100-billion global lighting market by 2020.

Among the key drivers are the development of LED lighting technologies, energy regulations and strong economic growth in emerging markets.

The adoption rates will vary among countries in Asia. Japan, where the government has pushed energy saving aggressively since the country's recent nuclear-power crisis, will see quicker replacement of traditional lighting by LED than, say, New Zealand, which has lower electricity costs, thanks to its abundant hydropower resources.

The shift to LED in Thailand is expected to be as rapid as elsewhere in the world, accounting for 70% of the lighting market by 2020.

Chiefly because of the introduction of LED products in the local market, GE expects its lighting sales here to expand by 30% next year, up from 25% this year and 18% last year. The country's lighting market grew by 10% last year, is expected to be up 12.5% this year and is forecast to rise 15% next year.

Jatupong Jaturawong, general manager of GE Light (Thailand), said that 55% of the firm's sales come through the modern-trade channel, followed by 15% through the automobile and speciality lighting channel. The OEM (original equipment manufacturer), project sales and retail trade channels each contribute 10%.

The project sales channel will be a key driver, expected to soar by 42% this year and 50% in 2014.

By product, compact fluorescent lamps contribute 30% of GE Lighting's sales here, followed by LED (20%), high-intensity-discharge lamps (15%), linear fluorescent lamps (10%), fixtures (10%), speciality lighting (9%) and halogen (5%).

Eng said business users understood that the return on investment from migrating to LED lighting was worthwhile, thanks to longer life and lower energy consumption. Starbucks has already converted to LED lighting in its stores in Thailand. However, educating the public remains a key factor to increase penetration.

Jatupong believes that LED lamps will become more affordable in the near future, like compact fluorescent lamps, whose price came down from Bt400-Bt500 12 years ago to Bt60-Bt70 at present. Now an 18-watt LED tube costs about Bt1000 in Thailand.

The Provincial Electricity Authority, Metropolitan Electricity Authority and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration plan to install LED lighting systems. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is also expected to introduce incentives to promote LED lighting.