RPT-Panasonic withdraws from TV production in China: source
(Repeats story moved on Saturday to more subscribers)
TOKYO Jan 31 (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp has stopped making TVs in China and plans to liquidate its joint venture in Shandong, a company source said on Saturday, the latest in a string of Japanese electronics companies exiting overseas TV markets amid strong pricing pressure.
The source, who did not want to be identified because the move had not yet been announced to the roughly 300 workers at the Shandong plant, said Panasonic ended production there on Friday.
The Nikkei earlier reported that Panasonic would withdraw from TV production in China and Mexico. The report said the company was expected to sell the Mexican plant, which has produced about 500,000 units a year, most of which were shipped to the United States.
Reuters could not confirm the company's plans to exit Mexico. It currently has two plants in that country, part of the company's nine TV manufacturing plants, excluding Shandong.
A fierce price war has made the global TV market unprofitable for many Japanese electronics makers. Panasonic said in late October it was transferring its unprofitable Sanyo television unit in the U.S., which supplies sets to Wal-Mart Stores, to Funai Electric in return for royalties.
Toshiba Corp said on Thursday that it would stop making and selling TVs in North America and was considering similar exits from other countries.
Sharp Corp has licensed its TV brand in Europe to Universal Media Corp Slovakia as part of an effort to trim costs and pull back from loss-making operations. Sony Corp has spun off its struggling TV business into a separate entity, although CEO Kazuo Hirai has said the company does not plan to sell or shut down the unit. (Reporting by Reiji Murai; Writing by Ritsuko Ando and Lisa Twaronite)
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