Fri, May 18, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Toshiba stops production of TVs at Japan factories

DOMESTIC DECLINE:Toshiba’s factory closure is the latest development highlighting the plunging fortunes of Japan’s formerly world-beating electronics firms

AFP, Tokyo

Toshiba Corp president and chief executive Norio Sasaki attends a news conference in Tokyo yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Toshiba said yesterday it has stopped making televisions in Japan, citing slow domestic demand as falling prices, fierce global competition and a strong yen pressure the country’s electronics makers.

The IT-and-engineering conglomerate shuttered production lines at its last remaining domestic TV plant in Fukaya, near Tokyo, at the end of March, a company spokesman said.

Toshiba, the maker of the Regza brand of televisions, has shifted all of its television production to factories in China, Indonesia, Egypt and Poland, he said, adding: “The fall in domestic demand is the reason.”

In Tokyo, Toshiba shares jumped 5.57 percent to close at ¥322.

The move is the latest development highlighting the plunging fortunes of Japan’s once world-beating electronics firms.

A strong yen, intense global competition — particularly from South Korean firms — and falling retail prices of televisions have left Japanese manufacturers swimming in red ink for the financial year that ended in March.

The industry received a temporary boost from a now-ended government stimulus program aimed at encouraging the purchase of energy-efficient appliances, but demand has slackened in an economy that has been limping along for many years.

Domestic television demand also surged when the nation stopped analogue broadcasting last July, by which time nearly all households and corporations had bought new televisions capable of receiving digital broadcasts.

“After those events, domestic demand fell so we have reduced production accordingly,” leading to a complete stoppage, the Toshiba spokesman said.

Japanese rival Hitachi, which earlier said it will stop domestic production of television sets and shift its business focus to large-scale infrastructure projects, said it expects higher operating profit for the current year.

Reports earlier this week said cash-bleeding Sony and Panasonic were looking to join forces to produce next-generation televisions in a bid to claw back market share from South Korean rivals.

Sharp, which is to get a cash injection from Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), better known for its Apple gadget-making Foxconn (富士康) brand, expects to remain in the red over the next year after a record US$4.7 billion net loss up to March this year.

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