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Japanese companies seek alliance on LCD TV screens

Posted: 11 Aug 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lcd tv? tft-lcd? 6g?

Three leading Japanese display suppliers, Hitachi Ltd, Matsushita Electric Ind. Co. and Toshiba are negotiating to form an alliance to produce TFT-LCD panels used in flat-panel TVs, according to a Reuters report.

The report said Matsushita, which makes Panasonic products, would likely shoulder part of the estimated $894 million for a 6G LCD fab Hitachi would build as early as 2006. The report added that the likely location for the new fab would be Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, where Hitachi's LCD unit Hitachi Displays currently builds small and medium sized LCDs in 4G fabs.

Display suppliers have increasingly engaged in alliances in recent years as fluctuating LCD demand and rapidly escalating production costs make it impractical for even well capitalized companies to invest in new plants on their own.

Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Japan-based Sony Corp. launched their joint LCD venture last month. Called S-LCD Corp., the 50-50 venture will employ a Generation 7 fab slated to begin operating the first half of 2005.

Analysts consider Samsung one of the two largest LCD suppliers, with Korean rival LG.Philips LCD being the other.

Another Japanese company, NEC, is slated to begin producing Generation 5 TFT-LCD panels through a joint venture with SVA Group Co. Ltd., Shanghai, later this year.

Toshiba and Matsushita are no strangers to one another, having formed a 60-40 venture called article/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=18306920">Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. Ltd, that began operating April 2002. The joint venture company focuses on small and medium sized LCDs.

The notable exception among Japanese display companies allying to produce LCDs is Sharp Corp., which claims to be the largest LCD TV maker. The company has installed a second production line for LCD TV panels at its Kameyama plant that begins operating this month.

- Spencer Chin

EE Times

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