Financial Times: In a bid to meet fast-growing demand for liquid crystal display televisions, Matsushita, known for its Panasonic brand, is set to build a LCD factory in western Japan by 2010.
The move will put it head to head against the leading LCD TV makers, such as Samsung, Sharp and Sony.
There is fierce competition for sales between plasma and LCD TVs. Though plasma televisions were cheaper to make in large sizes, manufacturing efficiencies in LCD production have cut costs sharply, meaning that prices are now comparable for most sizes. Many consumers are opting to purchase LCD TVs when they upgrade to flat-screen televisions, due to big price declines and more variety to choose from.
“We think the vertical integration strategy makes sense for Matsushita to expand margins, but investors will be concerned it is abandoning its plasma display panel business,” he said.
The factory, which will be located in western Japan, will have a maximum capacity of 15m units of 32-inch LCD panels a year. The plant will be built by IPS Alpha Technology, which is 50 per cent owned by Hitachi Displays, 30 per cent by Matsushita and 15 per cent by Toshiba.