A joint venture between Hitachi, Matsushita and others is investing ?80 billion (US$713 million) to double liquid-crystal display (LCD) production to meet the burgeoning global demand for flat-panel TVs, the companies said yesterday.
The investment will boost annual production capacity from 2.5 million 32-inch panels to 5 million by March 2008, at a plant in Chiba, east of Tokyo, which began running this month, Hitachi Displays, the Japanese electronics maker's display unit said in a statement.
The joint venture, IPS Alpha Technology Ltd, which began operating last year, is owned 50 percent by Hitachi Displays, 30 percent by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, a Japanese electronics maker which makes Panasonic brand products, 15 percent by Toshiba Corp of Japan and 5 percent by the Development Bank of Japan and others.
Demand for flat-panel TVs is expected to grow with the World Cup in Germany that starts June 9 and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Hitachi Displays said.
As part of the latest investment, IPS Alpha also plans to set up a plant in the Czech Republic to put together panels using displays made in the Japanese plant for making TVs for the rapidly growing European market, it said.
The new facility is scheduled to start production in the second half of fiscal 2007. About ?12 billion of the ?80 billion announced yesterday is earmarked for the Czech plant, it said.