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Report: Sony, Panasonic team up in OEL tech

Posted: 17 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:OEL? TV business? OLED TV?

Reports are circulating that Japanese companies Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. are in talks to develop the technology to mass produce next-generation OEL televisions.

A Reuters report said that sources close to the matter were quoted saying that the two companies are already making plans to catch up with their South Korean rivals.

According to the report, the companies hope that the tie-up will help them accelerate the development of large organic electroluminescence (OEL) TVs that consumes less power and offer sharper images than conventional flat panels. OEL is seen to be the dominant technology in the next-generation of televisions. Sony and Panasonic hope to devise a low-cost, high-yield manufacturing technique by bringing their technologies together, the report said.

Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have already announced that they plan to sell 55-inch OLED TVs that are as slim as 4mm by the end of the year.

The report noted that the Sony-Panasonic partnership will mark the first time rival firms have worked together in a core business. This could be a major turning point for the struggling Japanese electronics industry, the report added.

Japanese TV makers, who were king of the global TV market back in the 1980s and 1990s, have taken a beating as they fail to compete with their more aggressive Korean counterparts. Other factors why these firms are struggling are the weak consumer demand for TVs and the strong yen that makes their exports more expensive.

It is widely known that giant firms Sony, Panasonic and Sharp are in the red in their TV businesses and have a reported combined net loss of around $20 billion.

H.P. Chang, head of research at Taiwan-based LCD industry research company, WitsView, commented: "I think the (Sony-Panasonic) tie-up is to make sure they can stay ahead of the Korean rivals in terms of technology because Samsung and LG have expanded very quickly and have the capacity ready. AUO is also under financial pressure and a technological bottleneck in OLED."

"If Sony and Panasonic need to have a partner to enlarge production scale, AU is likely their only choice," Chang added.

"Both Sony and Panasonic would not be successful if they were to develop and sell OLED televisions alone. They have no choice but to find a partner," said Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive officer at Myojo Asset Management. "It (tie-up) is a plus, but their earnings wouldn't be rosy in the short-term because of this."

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