FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tokyo, Japan, April 6, 1999---Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) and Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501) today announced that they have agreed to establish this month a joint venture, Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited, to develop, manufacture and market large-screen plasma display panels (PDPs). Anticipating a significant increase in demand for high-definition displays and digital televisions, the two companies have been working together to develop next-generation PDP technology and volume production technology since signing a joint development agreement in July 1998. The newly announced joint venture builds on the accomplishments achieved under the earlier agreement.
Fujitsu and Hitachi Join Forces to Develop, Manufacture and Market Large-Screen PDPs
-- Joint Venture to Be Established: Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited --
Demand for PDPs as information displays in business has been growing rapidly, due to the many advantages -- thin profile and light weight for space-saving installation, self-luminescence, digital driver, wide viewing angle, etc. -- that enable them to display moving images and high-definition still images with great precision and detail. In response to the digitalization and higher image quality of television broadcasts, it is anticipated that there will be a major increase in demand for wall-hanging wide-screen televisions for home use. By the year 2003, the annual worldwide market for these products is expected to reach 3 million units.
Moving beyond joint development to encompass development, manufacturing and marketing, Fujitsu and Hitachi will transfer their large-screen PDP operations to the new joint venture company. The two companies will be in a position to develop next-generation PDPs faster than other companies and, by moving ahead with the development of new volume production processes, differentiate themselves from competitors.
As production base, the joint venture company will acquire the Miyazaki plant of Kyushu Fujitsu Electronics, Ltd., where Fujitsu is currently mass producing PDPs. By consolidating the two companies' manufacturing capabilities, the new venture plans to increase the Miyazaki plant's current monthly production capacity of 10,000 units to around 70,000 units by the year 2001. Likewise, in sales and marketing, the joint venture plans to greatly expand worldwide sales of PDP modules.
About the New Company
Company name: Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Limited Headquarters: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture Capital: 20 billion yen (equity ratios: Fujitsu 50%, Hitachi 50%) Establishment: April 1999 Start of Operations: July 1999 President: to be decided Employees: about 850 (including the manufacturing subsidiary) Sales target: 150 billion yen in FY2003 (module base)
A pioneer in the PDP field, Fujitsu has developed and patented such core technologies as its proprietary AC-type 3-electrode surface discharge method, ADS sub-field drive method, and stripe-rib panel structure, and the company helped open the way for commercialization of color PDPs. Utilizing its exceptional technological strengths in this field, it developed the world's first 42-inch color PDP, called ImageSite, in 1995, commencing volume production at the Miyazaki plant of Kyushu Fujitsu Electronics, Ltd. in October 1996 (current production: 10,000 units per month). The company continues to play a leading role in expanding the global market for color PDPs.
Hitachi is a leading display manufacturer, producing and marketing a wide range of products from CRTs to liquid crystal displays and for applications from PC monitors to color televisions. The company has been researching and developing PDP technology since 1970 and has obtained patents for a false contours prevention method and other basic technologies. Hitachi established the New Display Business Development Division in 1996, and that year was the first in the industry to introduce in Japan a 25-inch XGA-compatible PDP (named HI-PLASMA). In 1997 Hitachi introduced a 41-inch XGA-compatible PDP, and the company has been continually working to promote the PDP business with a special focus on developing higher- resolution color PDPs.
* All company / product names mentioned may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and are used for identification purpose only.
Fujitsu Limited is a leading provider of information technology products and solutions for the global marketplace. Founded in Japan in 1935 as a telephone equipment maker, the Fujitsu Group had consolidated revenues of $37.7 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31,1998. With over 500 group companies, including Amdahl and ICL, Fujitsu is one of the world's largest suppliers of computers and information systems solutions, telecommunications and semiconductor products, software and services. The Fujitsu Group has over 180,000 employees worldwide and operations in more than 100 countries.
Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 1997 (ended March 31, 1998) consolidated sales of 8,417 billion yen ($63.8 billion*). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi's Web site at http://www.hitachi.co.jp.
* At an exchange rate of 132 yen to the dollar.
Press Contacts: Isao Hirano, Scott Ikeda, Bob Pomeroy
Fujitsu Limited, Public Relations
Tel: +81-3-3215-5236 (Tokyo)
Fujitsu Limited, Promotion Department
Hitachi, Ltd., New Display Business
Development Division, Shinya Kikuchi