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Panasonic to end LCD panel production by September

By the end of September, Panasonic will cease manufacturing LCD panels at its Himeji plant in Hyogo Prefecture, according to company sources.
The Osaka-based firm’s exit will leave Sharp as the only Japanese LCD maker operating in the country. Aside from Sharp, Taiwanese company Hon Hai Precision Industry also has LCD-making plant in Japan.
The move will also mean Panasonic will now have to import panels for its LCD TV that it will continue to manufacture.
Production at the Himeji plant slowed down amid fierce price competition with foreign makers such as those from South Korea and China. The plant, started operating in 2010, has a monthly production capacity of 810,000 32-inch LCD panels.
About 1,000 Himeji plant workers will be reassigned to Panasonic’s other factories across the country.
The company, however, will continue producing LCD panels for medical devices and vehicles where growth is expected.
In 2012, Panasonic ended LCD panel production at its Chiba Prefecture’s Mobara plant, built in 2006, as earnings took a hit amid strong competition from South Korean LG Display and Samsung Electronics, and other overseas makers.
The company also left the business of the plasma TV panels in 2014 due to drastic business change and declining demand.
Last year, a fierce price war forced Panasonic to stop TV production in China and Mexico, where it used to produce over 500,000 units a year for its North American market.

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