Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic will no longer be producing liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for televisions, beginning its withdrawal this September.
The move is the result of stiff price competition in the LCD TV space, according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review. Panasonic will end production of LCD TV parts later this year at its Himeji plant in Hyogo Prefecture, which is the sole manufacturing site for LCD TV panels for the company.
LCD TV manufacturers are under extreme pressure as a result of falling prices, unit shipment declines and the move to newer technologies, including organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and higher-resolution displays such as 4K ultra-HD.
“Falling prices are causing panel makers to focus on the most profitable products, including larger displays and those employing newer display technologies,” says Yoonsung Chung, Director of Large Area Display Research for IHS. As a result, panel makers are shifting from just shipping as many panels as possible to shipping larger TV panel sizes and higher resolutions in order to maximize whatever profits they can from LCDs, Chung says.
Panasonic’s exit will leave Sharp as the last Japanese-based LCD TV panel manufacturer. Sharp was recently acquired by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn (Hon Hai) in part because Foxconn will receive access to OLED displays.
Panasonic will continue to manufacture and sell LCD TVs, but it will procure panels from a third party. It has already begun this process by garnering panels from South Korean manufacturers. The Himeji plant will continue to produce non-TV components, and the staff will be reassigned to other production facilities, the report says.
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