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LED bulbs: Government policies, growing demand fuel LED bulb industry in Guangdong

State energy policies, local government support enliven an industry highlighting power-efficient models.

Guangdong, recognized more as an electronics manufacturing base, is steadily firming up its position as an important sourcing center for LED lighting in China. The province currently leads in terms of LED bulb production, contributing about 60 percent to the country's total annual output.

More than 2,000 makers there offer diode-based bulbs and lamps, with more companies entering the segment. The major players include Century Epitech, Kingsun and Foshan Nationstar.

Shenzhen and Guangzhou are the biggest production centers in Guangdong, with the former's entire LED industry valued at almost $3 billion in 2008. Foshan and Dongguan, meanwhile, are the emerging hubs in the LED bulb segment. In fact, from zero exports in 2008, Foshan shipped 140 million units worth about $4 billion from January to May 2009.

In the past three years, Guangdong's exports of diode-based bulbs have grown at a rate of more than 25 percent annually, and are estimated to reach $11 billion by 2015. About 70 percent of these are from OEM customers, with less than 20 percent bearing in-house brands. The rest consists of ODM orders.

The rapid development of the predominantly export-oriented LED lighting industry is attributed to the increasing environmental awareness among domestic and global consumers.

For instance, in Europe and the US, the province's major overseas markets, the use of incandescent bulbs have already been or will be banned in favor of energy-efficient light sources. With similar actions being undertaken in other areas, demand for LED types is expected to surge further.

In the home front, China's aggressive promotion of energy-saving strategies is also benefiting the local industry. Two years ago, the state implemented an EnEV policy to ensure that government institutions and offices use power-efficient lighting only. The "ten city, ten thousand lights" campaign, which seeks to replace incandescent lamps totally with LED versions, was also launched. As a start, the country ordered more than 1.4 million LED bulbs and lamps in 2009, with plans to increase it to 2.5 million by 2010.

A similar undertaking was spearheaded by the Guangdong administration, aiming to install 100,000 lights on a 1,000km highway. This project is in preparation for the 2010 Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou.

Moreover, other upcoming international events such as the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 26th Shenzhen Universiade are forecast to generate strong demand for LED indoor and outdoor lighting.

To capitalize on these upcoming trends, the local government has unveiled development plans and strategies that will catapult Guangdong at the forefront of the ever-expanding LED lighting industry.

In particular, Shenzhen has set aside about $14 million annually beginning 2009 for three years to fund R&D, patent acquisition, industry standardization and marketing. The provincial administration is also considering giving financial subsidies to encourage local enterprises and households to adopt LED lighting. Under this endeavor, some large state- and privately owned institutions have already been identified as test projects and will receive 10 to 30 percent monetary assistance.

As detailed in the city's LED Industry Development Plan 2009-15, Shenzhen will also accelerate the clustering of its more than 700 LED and other optoelectronics suppliers and R&D companies. This move is seen to create a more stable industry chain and facilitate sharing of innovative manufacturing and design technologies between related enterprises. It is further expected to rapidly develop and expand Shenzhen's LED industry, especially the encapsulation and display production segments.

Power-efficient models highlighted

Power-efficient models highlighted

With more outdoor or large commercial indoor applications adopting high-power LED bulbs, Guangdong makers are focusing on rolling out models with more than 1W output. Interviewed suppliers said they are targeting as much as 50 percent increase in volume production in the next three years.

Another R&D consideration for local companies is improving the efficiency of upcoming products. Neon-LED International (Hong Kong) Ltd, for example, has released 1W versions with 80 to 90 lm/W luminous efficacy.

Guangdong-made products are differentiated into low-end, midrange and high-end models according to materials used, LED chips and power output.

Low-end and midlevel types use Taiwan-made LED chips and epitaxial wafers. Upscale versions are fitted with chips from foreign suppliers such as US-based Cree, Semi and Bridge and South Korea's Samsung.

Generally, the higher the power output, the more expensive the bulbs are. Models exceeding 20W go for more than $100 and 3W versions are priced from $7 to $12. LED bulbs with less than 1W output start at $4 or less.

With more cost-efficient production methods being adopted, particularly in diode manufacturing, makers are optimistic that prices will decline. Estimates point to a more than 80 percent drop in the next five years. This projection has prompted Guangdong suppliers to offer competitively priced products.

Some interviewed companies said they are poised to reduce quotes by 10 to 20 percent in the next six months.

This article "LED bulbs: Government policies, growing demand fuel LED bulb industry in Guangdong" is originally posted in Global Sources.

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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