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Sony reportedly seeks to exit plasma display market

Posted: 24 Dec 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lcd? matsushita electric?

Sony Corp. is considering leaving the plasma display market to focus on flat-panel liquid crystal (LCD) displays, according to several online reports.

Quoting Japanese news service Nihon Keizai Shimbun, a Reuters report said Sony, the second largest plasma display supplier behind Matsushita Electric, would exit the plasma display business as early as Spring 2005.

A Sony spokesman was quoted as saying the company has no plans to immediately retreat from the plasma market, where it has a 10 percent market share, but possibly exit in the long term.

The signs point to Sony leaving the plasma display market. The company has not made recent investments in plasma technology. By contrast, Matsushita continues to expand plasma production, announcing last week it will open a new plant in Amagasaki, Japan in 2005 to keep up with faster than projected demand for plasma flat-panel display TVs.

Sony, meanwhile, continues to move heavily into LCDs. The company opened its joint manufacturing venture with Korea-based Samsung Electric Co. Ltd., S-LCD Corp., in July.

In addition, Sony announced Monday it would expand its technology centers in Kokubu and Kumamoto to increase in-house sourcing of semiconductors, which include drivers for LCDs and LCD projection devices.

Sony faces stiff competition as it attempts to strengthen its presence in the LCD market. Not only are top-tier Korean and Taiwanese suppliers expanding LCD production capacity, but so are rival Japanese companies.

Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. launched a joint venture for LCD TV production in August, while Sharp, the industry's largest LCD TV supplier, is reportedly considering investing $2 billion in a new fab to compete with Samsung and LG.Philips LCD.

- Spencer Chin and Yoshiko Hara

EE Times

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