Panasonic mulls reducing TV production, shifting some to China's TCL

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Panasonic Corp. is considering shifting production of small and midsize televisions to Chinese home appliance maker TCL Corp. as the Japanese electronics company aims to focus on larger, high-end products, sources with knowledge of the matter said Friday.

Panasonic's TV business has been struggling due to fierce competition from Chinese and South Korean rivals. The company is planning to reach an agreement with TCL in May and end TV production at its plants in India and Vietnam once TCL starts manufacturing products for Panasonic, according to the sources.

A Panasonic plant in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, will continue to make TVs that use organic light-emitting diode panels, among other products.

Panasonic is known for its Viera brand, but the TV segment incurred a loss of over 10 billion yen ($92 million) in fiscal 2019.

It has faced the need for restructuring, even though the TV business is expected to return to profitability in the just-ended fiscal year through March thanks to pandemic-fueled demand for home appliances as people spend more time at home during the coronavirus crisis.

Japanese electronics makers have been reassessing their TV businesses in recent years. In 2018, struggling Toshiba Corp. sold its TV and visual products subsidiary to Chinese electronics maker Hisense Group.

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