Japanese giants in TV JV

Japanese electronics giants Sony and Panasonic will jointly develop large-screen organic electroluminescence (OEL) televisions in a bid to catch up with South Korean rivals LG and Samsung.

The partnership was brought up after Sony and Panasonic experienced a slump in sales due to tight competition. The two companies suffered combined losses running into multi billion of dollars in the year to March.

Sony and Panasonic plan to release OEL TVs by 2015 while LG and Samsung plan to commercialise OEL TVs by the year’s end. In 2007, Sony sold 11-inch screen OEL TVs, but later stopped production due to the GFC.

“A tie-up would lower their development costs for OEL TVs and enable them to gain ground on the industry-leading South Korean manufacturers. Investors could also see this as an indication of how these companies are changing under new management,” said Yuji Fujimori, an analyst for Barclays Capital in Tokyo.

OEL technology uses organic electronic material that illuminates on voltage variations. OEL TVs are as thin as 4 millimeters (0.16 inches) and produce sharper images than liquid-crystal-display TVs.

Panasonic plans to invest 30 billion yen (US$373.68 million) for setting up a test production line of OEL panels in Himeji plant in Western Japan.



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