Panasonic and Hitachi are joining forces to battle fierce competition in the flat screen industry by adding each others' plasma display panels to their product line-up.
In February 2005, Hitachi and Panasonic agreed to move forward with a wide-ranging partnership in the plasma TV business, in the areas of R&D, production, marketing, and intellectual property. Under the agreement announced today, Panasonic will start supplying Hitachi with 103-inch panels in the current business year to March 2008, while Hitachi will begin providing Matsushita with 85-inch panels next business year. panels.
"The move to digital and high-definition TV broadcasting is generating a rapid increase in the share of the TV market accounted for by flat-panel TVs. Thus, the shift to large screens is expected to generate major growth. At the same time, in order to cope with falling prices and maintain a competitive advantage in the global market, it is necessary to achieve an even higher level of business efficiency. This includes providing a more comprehensive lineup, drastically cutting costs and improving development efficiency," the companies said in a statement.
Panasonic, the world's largest plasma TV supplier, said it was not clear at the moment how much annual revenues the new deal with Hitachi would generate.
Plasma TVs, which once dominated the 40-inch-and-larger market, have lost ground as rival LCD TV makers have rolled out bigger models at cheaper prices, prompting analysts to urge closer ties between plasma makers to better compete with the LCD camp.
The announcement by Panasonic and Hitachi follows news last week
that South Korean flat panel makers including LG and Samsung are forming an alliance to enhance their competitiveness.