Japanese consumer electronics company Panasonic Corp confirmed to the Global Times Monday that it is shutting down its PDP (plasma display panel) television factory in Shanghai, a move analysts said will accelerate the decline of the global PDP TV industry.
Starting from the end of November 2012, the company has consolidated the plant's operation into its LCD (liquid crystal display) television factory in East China's Shandong Province in an effort to improve the efficiency of its flat-panel TV business, the Panasonic Corporation of China said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Monday.
Laid-off employees from the Shanghai plant are being compensated according to Chinese laws and regulations, a PR staff member for Panasonic China told the Global Times Monday on condition of anonymity, but she refused to reveal the specific number of layoffs or when the move will be complete.
Panasonic's move away from PDP TVs will soon be followed by China's other major PDP TV producer, Sichuan-based Changhong Group, Liu Buchen, an analyst at consultancy Jiachunqiu Media Institution in Zhengzhou, told the Global Times Monday.
However, Changhong will not be seriously impacted by the continuing decline in demand for PDP TVs, which only account for 12.5 percent of the company's total annual TV set shipments, Zhang Bin, director of China Market Research at DisplaySearch, told the Global Times Monday.
Liu Haizhong, a Changhong spokesperson, told the Global Times Monday that the company is diversified and the production of PDP TVs is just one part of the operation.
Panasonic's plant closure comes amid a continued decline in global demand for PDP sets as LCD TVs are becoming the consumer favorite in China and abroad.
Domestic consumers prefer LCD TVs, which save more energy and cost less than comparable PDP TVs, said Liu Buchen.
Unlike leading manufacturers of LCD TVs, Panasonic and other PDP TV makers have been unwilling to share their production technology and sales channels with each other, which has made it hard for the PDP TV industry to expand its scale or to cut costs, he said.
Besides, most PDP screens come at a minimum size of 42 inches, while 40 percent of domestic consumers prefer around 32 inches, said Zhang.
US market search consultancy NPD DisplaySearch projected that global PDP TV shipments will be 10 million in 2013, compared to 210 million LCD TVs, which will continue to hold the majority of the global TV market.
Zhang noted that PDP TV sets have never shipped over 30 million annually since they first appeared in the market and predicted they will meet their doom within one or two years.
In 2011, Panasonic announced it would close two of its three PDP TV factories worldwide. Early in 2008, Sony, Samsung and LG gave up their PDP TV set operations, according to Liu Buchen.
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