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Hitachi, Panasonic Join on Plasma TV

Hitachi will procure the key proponent of production from Matsushita.

Hitachi Ltd. said on Sept. 18 it would join Matsushita Electronics Industrial Co. Ltd. in the plasma televisions market, in a bid to revive a money-losing operation.

Hitachi will procure glass panels -- a major component in plasma panels -- from Matsushita for television models to be launched in the next business year starting in April 2009, Hitachi said. Matsushita, best known for its Panasonic brand, is the world's largest plasma television maker.The Hitachi group has until now produced plasma-display televisions on its own, from making the panels to assembly.

The flat-television industry has been undergoing rapid transformation as the high-quality screens become more affordable for consumers.

"Amid fierce competition in the flat-panel television market, however, Hitachi decided to change part of its production and development of panels" and procure the key component from Matsushita.

Hitachi and Matsushita also said they would cooperate in the development of energy-saving or other value-added plasma displays and talk about enhancing cooperation at overseas production bases.

Pioneer Corp. -- which like Hitachi has faced recent financial problems -- also entered a plasma panel tie-up with Matsushita in April.

Sony and Sharp announced in February they were teaming up in liquid crystal display panels, a rival technology.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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