Will Shoppers See More Panasonic-branded LCD TVs?

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on October 5, 2007

With the rapid growth in LCD television sales allowing Samsung Electronics to maintain its global TV leadership, it would be interesting to watch how Matsushita Electric will react over the next year or two. So far, the Japanese maker of Panasonic products has been focusing on the plasma technology for large TVs, saying it is determined to stay number one in the plasma segment. While other plasma panel makers are cutting back investment, Matsushita is investing $2.3 billion to help double its plasma capacity in the next two years.

Few doubt Matsushita will stay as the No. 1 plasma TV maker in the foreseeable future. Yet many tech analysts believe it may not be among the top four players in the flat-screen TV market unless it boosts its LCD presence. Already in the April-June quarter, it was ranked sixth in the thin-TV market, accounting for only 7.3% share. That’s well below half Samsung’s share of 17.3% and No. 2 Sharp’s 11%, according to market researcher iSuppli. It also lags behind Philips, LG and Sony.

Surely, there’ll be fans for the plasma technology, which is self-illuminating, unlike LCD that has to be backlit. But plasma’s share of the flat-screen market has slid and industry experts predict LCD will remain the dominant technology for years to come. Researcher DisplaySearch says global LCD TV sales grew 28% to $14.4 billion in the second quarter of this year from a year earlier, while plasma TV sales fell 29% to $3.4 billion.

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