Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 344, May 1998

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Japanese Companies in the US


From a plant being built in Tijuana, Mexico, the recently established San Diego, California marketing unit of KOYOSHA CO., LTD. will start shipping printed circuit boards in November to Japanese-affiliated and other customers in the United States. At start-up, the factory will be able to turn out more than 1 million square feet of PCBs a month, including single-sided, carbon and custom boards. Kyoto prefecture-based Koyosha is said to be the first Japanese company to move into the U.S. market for single-sided printed circuit boards. By having a plant in Mexico, it can greatly shorten the supply line compared with shipping products from Asia. MITSUBISHI CORP., AROMAT CORP. and KYODEN CO., LTD. together own 18 percent of Koyosha's California marketing unit.

TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD. has merged TOPPAN WEST, INC., a San Diego, California manufacturer of printed circuit boards and a seller of these products and lead frames for the semiconductor industry, and TOPPAN ELECTRONICS (U.S.A.), INC. of Santa Clara, California, a marketer of photomasks for chip production and color filters. The resulting company, TOPPAN ELECTRONICS, INC., is located in San Diego. The two subsidiaries' overlapping customer bases were a primary reason for the merger.

Japan's largest manufacturer of refrigerators for the home and the world's top producer of refrigeration compressors will work with two big names in the U.S. appliance field to develop compressors that are more environment-friendly and energy efficient. The collaboration brings MATSUSHITA REFRIGERATION CO. together with GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. and WHIRLPOOL CORP. The partners will use Matsushita Refrigeration's Vonore, Tennessee refrigeration compressor plant as their development base, using facilities there to make and test prototypes. By tying up with GE and Whirlpool, the Japanese company hopes to cut development time to a year and reduce development costs. A joint venture between Germany's ROBERT BOSCH G.M.B.H. and SIEMENS AG also is involved in the project, but that firm is collaborating with Matsushita Refrigeration's Singapore operation.

At the end of March, DAIICHIKOSHO CO., LTD., the largest Japanese marketer and lessor of commercial karaoke equipment, liquidated its 10- year-old, money-losing New York City subsidiary. Stiffer competition in this field as well as difficulties in acquiring rights to songs were given as the reasons for the withdrawal from the American market.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.

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