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Canon, Toshiba team up for flat-screen venture



Tokyo

September 15, 2004 - 10:33AM



Major Japanese electronics manufacturers Canon Inc. and Toshiba Corp have announced an agreement to jointly develop, make and sell next generation flat display panels which are thinner than conventional flatscreens.



The two companies are to set up a joint venture to make surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) panels in October this year in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, with initial capital of ¥1.0 billion ($US9.1 million).



"SED panels will become the ultimate flat panel technology, as it will achieve CRT (cathode-ray tube) level resolution in a flat panel structure," Toshiba president Tadashi Okamura said at a press conference.



"Therefore, we have decided to devote our resources to the SED technology, rather than spending on other flat display technology," he added.



Canon will hold a majority 50.002 percent stake in the venture, SED Inc., and Toshiba the remaining 49.998 percent, the two companies said, adding that the venture will hire 300 employees by January next year.



SED Inc will begin mass production of SED panels in 2005, but the two firms did not disclose any sales and production targets for the venture.

Canon, Japan's top office equipment and camera maker, began research in the field of SED technology in 1986 and has jointly developed SED panels with Toshiba since 1999.



"Canon and Toshiba, deeming the timing appropriate, agreed upon the establishment of a joint venture," their joint statement said.



"The flat-panel TV segment is expected to continue displaying growth within the television market," it said. "Canon and Toshiba aim to firmly establish SED technology as a new type of flat-panel display."



Both Canon and Toshiba currently have only limited presence in the flat TV market, but with the new joint venture, the two aim to make major inroads into this business and eventually become the top-ranked maker.



Canon makes no flat TVs, including LCD (liquid crsytal display) TVs or plasma display panel (PDP) TVs, while Toshiba makes some LCD-TVs but almost no PDP TVs.



"If we are working alone, we may not have been been able to commercialize this cutting-edge technology. But by teaming up with Toshiba, the best partner for us, we now want to make this technology a global standard," Canon president Fujio Mitarai told the same news conference.



The announcement came after Canon said last weekend it would open its largest research and development center at its headquarters in Tokyo at a cost of at least ¥25 billion.



The facility is expected to house about 1200 researchers, who will conduct basic studies in biotechnology and other new business areas that Canon is aiming to fully enter around 2010.



"The research centre will not handle SED technology, which will be solely developed by the new venture," a Canon spokesman said.
Here's some more info about this.



Thanks to Jeff.

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