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No. 352, January 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


Continuing to shift color picture tube capacity to the United States from Japan, where demand is ebbing, HITACHI, LTD. is adding production of 36-inch CRTs for digital television sets to the product lineup of its Greenville, South Carolina plant. This transfer is projected to cost $15.4 million. HITACHI ELECTRONIC DEVICES (USA), INC. now makes roughly 1 million 27-inch and 32- inch direct-view and projection picture tubes, including some capable of displaying VGA and SVGA resolutions for use in digital TV sets. The factory will start off this spring producing about 10,000 of the 36-inch CRTs a month. Hitachi will use half of this output internally and sell the rest to other TV set manufacturers.

The day is not far off when consumers can expect PCs and various digital audio and/or visual appliances to be interconnected and interoperable through a home network. Such a system, though, will require a home server, which, in turn, means a new hard disk drive architecture capable of handling multiple streams of audio-visual content received from digital TV broadcasting and the Internet and storing this large amount of data in a quickly accessible, protected way. Enter SONY CORP. and WESTERN DIGITAL CORP. They will form a partnership to codevelop a hard disk drive for consumer AV applications. They expect to have a prototype ready for verification of the basic technologies by the end of March 1999, with commercialization of the product completed sometime in 2000. The consumer electronics giant will develop the interface, architecture and protocol for AV applications, while the Irvine, California-based hard disk drive manufacturer will be responsible for the mechanical and electronic components and the drive's firmware.

To expand sales of its printed circuit boards, the Scotts Valley, California subsidiary of SSK LTD. (formerly Suzuki Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) has stationed marketing representatives on the East Coast and the West Coast as well as in the South and the Midwest. The company specializes in printed circuit boards for cellular telephones.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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