Japanese Electronics Firms Join Forces to Beat Korean Rivals

Panasonic chairman Fumio Ohtsubo (center) links hands with Sanyo chairman Seiichiro Sano (left) and Panasonic Electric Works chairman Shusaku Nagae after announcing a plan to acquire Sanyo in July last year. /Bloomberg Panasonic chairman Fumio Ohtsubo (center) links hands with Sanyo chairman Seiichiro Sano (left) and Panasonic Electric Works chairman Shusaku Nagae after announcing a plan to acquire Sanyo in July last year. /Bloomberg

Japan's largest electronics company Panasonic on Sunday announced that it has completed the acquisition of Sanyo Electric and incorporated it as a wholly owned subsidiary. Armed with the acquisition, the company aims to become not only the world's top electronics maker by 2018, its 100th anniversary, but also the most innovative company in the world.

Panasonic has chosen as its new growth engines secondary batteries and solar panels, which are also the business targets of Samsung and LG, auguring stiff competition in the fields.

Japanese electronics companies are rolling up their sleeves to beat their Korean rivals. Since 2000, they have lagged behind in semiconductors, LCD panels, TVs and mobile phones. Now they are struggling to survive this crisis through mergers and acquisitions and bold alliances with domestic or foreign rivals.

In the LCD sector, Japanese manufacturers are joining forces with Taiwanese companies to take on Korean rivals. Sharp has recently formed an alliance with Taiwan's Chimei Innolux. Sharp will provide its energy-saving technology for LCDs used in TVs to Chimei, which will offer its mid-sized panels to the Japanese company at a low price. Hitachi and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industries also announced an LCD production alliance late last year.

Similar alliances are taking place in the semiconductor industry, which is led by Samsung Electronics and Hynix. Japanese chipmaker Elpida, ranked third in the world, recently acquired the DRAM production plant of Taiwan's Powerchip, ranked sixth. Toshiba joined hands with the U.S' SanDisk and set up a flash memory plant in Japan. Toshiba also announced last month that it would produce memory chips using 19-nanometer technology at the plant starting in July at the earliest. That has alarmed Samsung Electronics, whose chips are presently made using 20-nanometer technology.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 03, 2011 12:02 KST