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The downturn in Plasma demand is starting to hit Japanese CE Companies. What were big name players 18 months ago are now starting to struggle.

According to leading Taiwanese News Group Digi Times Japan-based PDP (plasma display panel) supplier Matsushita Electric Industrial, known for its Panasonic brand, is accelerating its expansion plan, other makers such as Pioneer and Hitachi are slowing their schedules for new plants, according to the companies.

Japan-based Pioneer has decided to postpone investments in a new manufacturing site for PDP TVs, the company recently said. Decisions on the scale of the new plant and further timing of the investments will be based on the market trend as well as a wide range of considerations such as the creation of a more efficient manufacturing framework or joint investments with other companies, Pioneer pointed out .

Hitachi as reported by Reuters that it would also postpone a decision on building its next PDP factory amid sharp price declines in the flat-panel TV market. Hitachi would reach a decision on the new plant by year-end, instead of by March, according to the report.

 

Hitachi is betting on both PDP and LCD and the company currently has its subsidiary Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display (FHP) producing PDPs while IPS Alpha Technology is involved in TFT LCD production.

Despite the potential slow expansion on PDP plant, Hitachi had a strong growth in 2006 with shipments of about 570,000 PDP TVs for the nine month ended December 31, 2006, up from 350,000 units during the same period in 2005, according to the company. Hitachi’s third-quarter shipments in the fiscal year of 2006 (the year ended March 2007) totaled 250,000 units, noted the Japan-based company.

Matsushita in January announced plans to build a new PDP manufacturing facility in Japan.

Recently, in a Business Week report, Tetsuya Kawakami, executive vice president of Matsushita, express his concerns over the PDP market and said having just one PDP maker in the world – Matsushita -wouldn’t be a good thing, as consumers might get the impression that PDP is inferior to LCD technology.

Matsushita was the top PDP supplier in the fourth quarter of 2006 with worldwide market share of 27% while FHP and Pioneer ranked the fourth and fifth place, respectively, according to DisplaySearch.

Worldwide PDP TV market will grow to near 11 million units in 2007, up from 8.7 million in 2006, iSuppli estimated. Rival LCD TV technology will top almost 63 million units this year, up from 40 million last year, the research firm predicted.

 

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