February 7, 2005 – Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Hitachi Ltd. have agreed to develop plasma-display panel technology together in a bid to counter competition from South Korean rivals, company sources said Saturday, according to Kyodo News International.
Japan’s No. 1 and No. 2 plasma-display panel makers will establish a joint patent management firm while promoting cooperation in the development of electronic parts and in the procurement of raw materials, the sources said. The partnership is expected to allow Matsushita and Hitachi to utilize each other’s technological prowess to pursue clearer pictures and pare down electricity consumption and reduce overall costs.
The move is intended to pit the companies against South Korean firms that have been investing heavily in the development of plasma-display panels and against those strong in liquid crystal display TVs.
The planned patent management firm will be launched by Hitachi as early as April and Matsushita will acquire a stake in it later, the sources said.
Hitachi will shortly make Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Ltd., a joint plasma-display panel production venture with Fujitsu Ltd., its subsidiary and get Fujitsu’s relevant basic patents, which will be made available to Matsushita through the new patent-related firm.
According to the sources, Matsushita and Hitachi have no immediate intention of jointly producing plasma-display panels, with the former developing its own panels at its plant in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, and the latter at a factory in Kunitomi, Miyazaki Prefecture.