Panasonic has given up making LCD panels for televisions because the price competition.
The pullout from TV LCD manufacturing follows the company’s withdrawal from plasma TV production three years ago.
Panasonic has been making liquid crystal display panels for TVs at its Himeji factory in western Japan since 2010. Company executives are now planning to end production of the parts by September.
It says it will continue to manufacture LCD panels at the plant for products other than televisions, such as medical equipment and cars.
But it says cuts in output will lead to transfer of hundreds of workers to other factories or offices, out of about 1,000 currently employed at the plant.
However it says ir will keep making Panasonic-brand televisions, using panels supplied by other manufacturers.
The move leaves Sharp and its Taiwanese parent firm Hon Hai as the only producer in the land of the Rising Sun.
Panasonic said that its executives are trying to streamline operations to focus more on profit, rather than scale of sales.
Giant Asian manufacturer Hon Hai’s chairman has said that the company is to turn its gaze on the internet of things (IoT).
And he also told Chinese media that industrial robots are the key to the future.
The Taipei Times quotes Terry Gou as saying that Hon Hai will cooperate with Alibaba and Japanese company Softbank to offer “robotic services”.
Gou doesn’t think that these industrial robots will replace people any time real soon. Hon Hai is a major employer in mainland China, and makes Apple products and others.
It has already installed 48,000 industrial robotic arms in its factories.
Soft bank’s famous Pepper robot was made by Hon Hai and sold out in minutes when it was launched last June.
Hon Hai, which supplies iPhone products to Apple, said its net profits rose by 11 percent for its financial third quarter.
And revenues rose by 12 percent, largely as a result of increased manufacturing of iPhone during the quarter.
Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, is an original design manufacturer (ODM) not just for Apple, but for smartphones, servers and computers.
Other customers include HP, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi and OnePlus.
During the financial quarter, it turned in gross margins of 7.2 percent.
The Taiwanese company has been dogged by controversy in the past following a spate of suicides at its Chinese factories.
Troubled LCD manufacturer Sharp is considering forming a joint venture with a third party in a bid to help its panel technology business recover.
And, according to a report in the Taipei Times, Hon Hai Precision is one of the parties Sharp executives are talking to.
Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn, is a giant conglomerate and if a deal is struck between it and Sharp that could well prompt antitrust investigations. Sharp already supplies a chunk of panels to Hon Hai, which specialises in contract work for other manufacturers, including Apple.
Producing LCD panels is a capital intensive operation and the cost of new fabrication plants is immense. Sharp has faced stiff competition from other manufacturers including Korean giants Samsung and LG.
Sharp has already exited from the US market, will cut its employee headcount by 10 percent and cutting back on other technologies it produced.
The Taipei Times, quoting an unnamed source close to the negotiations, said the question of how much money was involved had not yet been raised.
People craving for a pet robot that recognises human emotions and even mimics emotions itself, have another chance to buy the Pepper bot at the end of this month.
Japanese giant Softbank and Taiwanese manufacturer Hon Hai are preparing another batch for release in Japan at the end of this month.
When the 28KG Pepper robot was released first on June 20th, it immediately sold out.
Only 1,000 Peppers can be manufactured a month and they are not cheap at over $1,500 – the big obstacle has been lack of apps for the device but now there are as many as 200 available.
Softbank is also renting Pepper robots for companies to peddle their goods.
Softbank is developing additional abilities for Pepper including 12 hours of battery life and collision detection censors. Pepper can trundle along at three kilometres per hour, and so you don’t have to feel anxious if you let your magic Pepper tortoise go.
Hon Hai – also known as Foxconn – makes Apple’s iPhones and makes a heap of money from the relationship.
Its chief executive, Terry Gou, reckons its revenues will soar by 10 percent this year, to a rather respectable $132.68 billion.
The Taipei Times said Gou said is getting closer and closer to Apple and that’s what will boost its sales.
Hon Hai makes Apple kit in mainland China, although it is a Taiwanese firm. It has come under scrutiny in the past for its labour record and a spate of well publicised suicides.
Gou said that Hon Hai is the chief assembler for Apple kit and in fact makes all of Apple’s bigger iPhones.
He told the Taipei Times that Pegatron – another Taiwanese company – only gets a few crumbs compared to Hon Hai.
Gou has his eyes on the Indian market and will invest in the country.
Quanta is considering establishing a manufacturing base in India, in another sign that all is not well for electronics outfits operating looking behind the Bamboo Curtain to provide them with cheap labour.
Quanta vice-chairman C.C. Leung said the company was gathering materials for evaluation and looking into it.
Quanta’s rival Hon Hai Precision Industry, announced that it was investing billions of dollars into establishing 10 to 12 facilities in India by 2020.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to reboot manufacturing to boost growth and employment but it is yet to rival China, particularly in technology where most factories will likely be assembly units.
Leung said the company has no specific investment plans at present. He said that there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account when evaluating India’s suitability for manufacturing.
It depends on convenient transportation and access to ports and getting the whole tech supply chain working.
The company said that its PC shipment volume and revenue contribution from PCs should remain about the same this year as last year, despite a 6.2 percent drop in shipments industry-wide predicted by market watchers IDC.
Apple has apparently applied to register a new trademark in Taiwan, the iWatch. It comes as no surprise, as rumours of an Apple smart watch have been clogging up the interweb for months.
The filing was published Monday by Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office, reports Focus Taiwan. Meanwhile, Qualcomm has appled for the “TOQ” trademark.
Apple filed the application on 3 June and it reportedly made identical filings in Japan, Mexico and Russia. Although the filing indicates that an iWatch is indeed coming, at this point nobody really knows what to expect.
Foxconn demonstrated a prototype smart watch at a shareholder bash last week. The company said the watch can be used to check phone calls and Facebook posts. It also measures the user’s vital signs, so sooner or later some developer will come up with an app that posts users’ health status on Facebook: “Fred Bloggs is having a stroke” for example. We are quite sure there are users out there who will “like” such statuses.
Wearable tech might be the next frontier when it comes to smart devices. Unlike smart cameras and toasters, smart watches could be used to control phones, a feature that will surely be appreciated by joggers and bikers. But nobody expects them to come cheap and battery life remains a concern.
On the other hand, ahem, if anyone can make them take off, it’s Apple. The real question is whether we really need smart watches and Google Glass – not that long ago travellers were used to packing a laptop and a phone, usually a feature phone that could go for days on a single charge. Now people are expected to lug along a laptop, tablet, smartphone and “wearable” smart devices, so we’re not entirely convinced.
The whole point of feature packed smartphones was to replace music players, low-end cameras and other gadgets. That’s why peopble love them. Wearable tech just seems to be a step in the wrong direction in terms of convenience.
Hon Hai Group, more commonly known as Foxconn, is about to undergo a pretty big reshuffle.
The company will transform its business groups and some of its subsidiaries will go public, Focus Taiwan reports.
Hon Hai Group Chairman Terry Gou said the company will retain six core businesses, precision machinery, optics, material technology, cloud computing, network and automation R&D.
Gou said other business groups will be transformed and they will go public after being independent for three years. Foxconn’s so called “eyeball” group, which involves all products that are centred on eyesight such as phones, AIOs and television, will be split into five to ten new companies.
Hon Hai execs believe such an approach will help it raise more money once the new companies go public. Gou also warned that the state of the global economy does not leave much room for optimism, saying the economic recovery in the US is not solid and that China’s economy remains weak.
Despite the volatile economy, Foxconn is expected to start tapping new markets this year, including cloud computing, software, fiberoptics and retail channels.
Foxconn could be about to spend a quarter of a billion dollars replacing millions of faulty iPhones, dumped back on its heels by Apple.
According to Chinese media, Apple returned as many as five million iPhones to Foxconn due to various technical problems. The total number of returned phones may be as high as eight million.
This mess will cost Foxconn dearly. It is estimated that it will have to compensate Apple to the tune of 1.6 billion yuan, or $256.8 million dollars.
This is not the first time Foxconn faced such problems, but it might be the priciest incident to date. Reports of build quality difficulties emerged days after the iPhone 5 was launched and prompted Foxconn to step up its quality control protocols.
Foxconn was apparently forced to halt production in three plants in mainland China for a week earlier this month. Apple promptly dispatched a team to investigate and it seems that iPhone production remains slow to this day, ZDnet reports.