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Panasonic's Shanghai hub to foster tie-ups with local partners

Team drawn from local employees to tap Alibaba and Baidu tech alliances

The company's products are laid out in a residential setting at the Panasonic Center in Osaka. The HomeX project allows customers to control lighting, appliances and other devices from a single panel. (Photo by Kaoru Osawa)

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Panasonic will set up a collaborative lab in Shanghai as soon as this month to develop business fields that reinforce partnerships with Chinese companies including Alibaba and Baidu.

The Japanese electronics maker, which established a similar hub in Silicon Valley in 2017, expects the Chinese version to strengthen ties with fast-growing tech companies in that country and cultivate the next wave of core businesses.

The Shanghai team of 10 to 20 employees, drawn from across Panasonic's Chinese operations, will consist primarily of promising local hires in areas such as appliances and housing.

Their first task will be to develop services and products for the HomeX project -- the brainchild of the Silicon Valley team -- which envisions a connected home where users can control the lighting, air conditioning and appliances from a single wall panel.

Panasonic already partners with e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding to market its appliances and works with search giant Baidu to develop instrument panels for next-generation vehicles. These and other Chinese companies will collaborate with Panasonic to launch new businesses.

With tech companies driving innovation in the U.S. and China, Panasonic will establish internal units in each country this April to oversee operations and remain engaged in the respective markets. The Shanghai lab is part of this effort.

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