#1624 / Sony Sells Its Battery Division To Murata

 Large electronics companies in Japan continue to lose market share in the global arena. This erosion of market share has had a ripple effect on Japanese printed circuit manufacturers that supplied these electronic companies; when they sneeze, printed circuit manufacturers catch cold. Japanese printed circuit companies are struggling. On the other hand, electronic component suppliers remain a leader in the global market, and continue to grow even with stiff competition from China and the other developing countries. Why aren’t they struggling?
A few large electronics companies in Japan are in the middle of a 1-3 year recovery plan. I’m not sure if these plans are relevant from a long term business stand point. Several weeks ago, Sony announced the termination of its battery division. Sony plans to sell the battery operations to Murata, one of the major component supplies in Japan. A few years ago, Sony spun off their VAIO business, its personal computer division.
These two divisions of Sony were losing money over the last few years, but I wonder out loud if they took the easy way out by just dumping these product lines. Sure, they stopped losing money, but these were brand names with equity, and it takes a lot of research and money to launch a new product into the market. Sony’s business culture is to come up with a unique idea, and the market will create itself. Sony developed a lot of unique products with huge success during the 80’s and 90’s, unfortunately that ended in the year of 2000. Sony is no longer a large electronics company. Sony is falling apart, and unless their researchers and engineers can figure it out, I am not very optimistic with Sony’s future, right now.
I am very optimistic with Murata’s outlook. They started out with passive components – not a flashy business, but it is a popular product used in an array of electronics equipment. Murata has a long term business strategy, and it remains a major player in the global component market. They are competitive with Chinese and Korean manufacturers, even though Murata produces most of its products in Japan. I’m not sure why they acquired the battery division from Sony, but I know it is a part of their long term business strategy. This could be an eye opener for the executives at Sony –instead of cutting off something, try and fix it.

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearchllc.com

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information of the news.)

Mitsubishi Material (Major material company in Japan) 7/28
Will open the Volume Production Technology Center in Hyogo Prefecture for the sputtering target business. The company expect the market size 100 million dollars and it will grow more.

Renesas (Major semiconductor manufacturer in Japan) 8/2
Has decided to terminate the business of microwave devices. The company will focus on optical devices.

Nagase Corporation (Major trading company in Japan) 8/5
Has developed a new blood vessel sensor as the ID recognition device for mobile equipment and automobile applications.

DISCO (Major semiconductor equipment manufacturer in Japan)8/8
Has developed a new laser wafer slicing technology “KABRA” of SiC wafers. It reduces process time and increases the yield remarkably.

Nagoya University (Japan) 8/10
Has developed a new simple synthesis process for organic nanotube molecules from acetylene structures with low cost.

JST (Major R&D organization in Japan) 8/9
Has developed a new manufacturing method of single crystal silicon ingot for mega-solar photovoltaic power generators. The new process remarkably reduces the manufacturing cost.

Toyota Motors (Major automobile company in Japan) 8/11
Has agreed to cooperate with Michigan University to develop AI technology for auto-driving and robotics.

Mitsubishi Electric (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 8/17
Will commercialize a new small size SiC DIPIPM as the controller of the air conditioners. It will increase the energy efficiencies.

Osaka Univ. & Tohoku Univ. (Japan) 8/18
Has discovered a new mechanism of multi-ferromagnetic materials under lighting. The mechanisms could be valuable to design the next generation memory devices.

RIKEN (Major R&D organization in Japan) 8/22
Was successful to make quantum bit in a semiconductor device build in traditional silicon. It could be valuable to build quantum competers.

TIT (Technical college in Japan) 8/23
Has discovered new phenomena of glass materials. Injection of electrons significantly changes physical properties. It could be valuable to control the properties of glass.

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