Sony to partner AUO to boost TV biz

Japanese electronics giant working with Taiwanese LCD maker to produce organic electroluminescence TVs in a bid to compete with South Korea's Samsung Electronics, report states.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Japan's Sony is reportedly in discussions with Taiwan's liquid crystal display (LCD) panel maker AU Optronics (AUO) to produce the next generation flat-screen TVs.

The two companies plan to mass-produce organic electroluminescence (EL) TVs and the Japanese electronics giant is also considering setting up a joint venture with the Taiwanese firm to manufacture panels, unnamed sources told the Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday.

The company hopes to combine its technology with AUO's production system to compete with South Korea's Samsung Electronics, the sources added. It hopes to emulate the business model of partnerships where a Japanese company exchanges its cutting edge technology for a Taiwan-based firm's efficient production system.

Sony had been the first to put organic EL TVs on the market in 2007, the report noted. The news comes just months after the company reportedly stopped production in January 2012.

When contacted, AUO told ZDNet Asia that it does not comment on media speculation. Sony, too, stated that its has "made no announcement" with regard to the partnership.

"As explained in the Sony corporate strategy meeting on Apr. 12, 2012, we are considering various possibilities regarding the development and commercialization of OLED including alliances. However, at this moment, we have nothing to announce or comment on further details," a company spokesperson said.

Organic EL TV sets do not require a backlight behind the screen, unlike LCD ones, and this allows the panels to be thinner and consume less electricity. They are also typically able to reproduce colors more accurately.

Another Japanese electronic giant, Sharp, had already announced a capital and business alliance with Taiwan-based electronic manufacturing giant Hon Hai group, in a separate report by the Japanese newspaper.

It was reported last week that Sony is planning to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, with 5,000 job cuts to come from its struggling TV business. In January, Sony was reportedly buying liquid crystal display (LCD) screens from LG, following the end of its display partnership with Samsung last October.

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