More than a century into its existence, Philips is once again betting heavily on semiconductors. This time the consumer electronics firm is looking to harness their potential as a source of light.
The producer of one in four of the world's lights, which sold its semiconductor business in 2006 after it was undercut by Asian rivals, has invested more than 4 billion euros ( billion) to ride the clean-tech wave and defend its world-leading position. But this time, Philips is better prepared for competition.
The company is betting on a shift in the lighting market, away from inefficient incandescent light bulbs and towards light-emitting diodes or LEDs -- perhaps best known for their use in the flashing indicators found on most consumer devices.
"In terms of value around 2015, LED will be bigger than conventional light sources," said Philips executive Niels Haverkorn. In the fourth quarter of 2009, LED-based products made up more than 10 percent of Philips' lighting sales for the first time. Made of diodes, or chips, the first practical LED was a red light developed in 1962. Now the technology has advanced to enable them to produce light colours across the colour spectrum.
To help draw attention to LEDs' potential to scale up, come down in price and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Philips at the turn of the year converted the famous numerals on the Times Square Ball -- which is raised and lowered to signify the coming of a new year -- to LED technology.
riding green wave
vézt se na zelené (ekologické) vlně
to bet heavily
hodně sázet (na)
source - zdroj
semiconductor - polovodič
shift - posun, změna