Sony, Samsung team on flat TV screens

Sony Corp. has tapped Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as its LCD partner for large-sized flat TV sets. The two companies have signed an agreement establishing a joint venture for the production of amorphous TFT LCD panels using seventh-generation glass substrates measuring 1,870 by 2,200 mm.

With the popularity of large, flat display TV sets growing, Sony lacked its own production facilities for both amorphous TFT LCDs and PDPs used for large-screen TVs. "Sony consumes a lot of displays for its products such as TVs, cellular phones and digital cameras. Thus we considered all possible choices. We will form a joint venture with Samsung for LCD production, but will continue to procure from other suppliers as well," said Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei.

"We chose Samsung for its [seventh generation] substrate size and its production capacity," Idei added. Sony will continue to procure PDPs from outside suppliers. "It is essential for the next generation displays to be self-emitting, and we are going to develop them internally, though it may be years ahead," Idei said.

The as yet unnamed joint venture will be established in the first quarter of 2004 at Samsung's Tangjeong plant (Chungcheongnamdo, South Korea). Details of the joint venture are still being negotiated.

Sony and Samsung expect the joint venture to begin operations in summer 2005 with a monthly capacity of tens of thousands of substrates. They will invest about $2 billion in production facilities, the partners said.

600450 Sony, Samsung team on flat TV screens
Date: 29 October 2003

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