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In order to push up utilization rates, first-tier handset pcb manufacturer suppliers, such aspcbchina Unimicron Technology, Compeq Manufacturing, Unitech Printed Circuit Board, and Tripod Technology, have been taking orders for white-box handset applications since November 2008, with quotes 20% lower than ones they usually offer first-tier clients, according to industry sources.

The first-tier handset PCB suppliers have cut the ASPs for their white-box applications to levels similar to those offered by smaller competitors mostly catering to the white-box handset market in China, the sources said, adding the minor players are now under strong pressure.

White-box handset PCB maker Plotech may see losses in January with only NT$160 million (US$4.61 million) in consolidated sales, the sources said. The company's utilization rate of HDI boards is low, and it has developed high-end networking boards and begun receiving orders from first-tier companies to help increasing its sales and utilization, the sources noted.

The white-box handset market continues to grow, but demand from international handset vendors remains weak, with major handset PCB makers who supply to first-tier clients seeing current utilization rates under 50%, the sources noted. Tripod indicated current orders of its DRAM module boards are the strongest while high-density interconnect (HDI) boards for handsets are the weakest.

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