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Fujitsu nearly done downsizing chip business

TOKYO -- After years of restructuring aimed at shrinking its chipmaking operations, Fujitsu may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

     The Japanese computer giant has reduced its silicon footprint through years of divestments. It sold semiconductor plants in Iwate Prefecture and elsewhere to Denso and J-Devices in 2012. Last year, Fujitsu unloaded its microcontroller and analog business to Spansion of the U.S. And this fall, it will combine its system chip business with Panasonic's in a new company that will not count in consolidated results.

     Now, with the decision to sell its Mie Prefecture plant, Fujitsu may be penning the final chapter of the restructuring story.

     A source with ties to Fujitsu says it will "effectively withdraw" from designing and manufacturing chips for other companies. But Fujitsu will continue developing semiconductors for its own use and maintain capabilities as a distributor.

     Fujitsu has been taking other steps, such as trimming staff at a personal computer company in Europe and consolidating smartphone production bases.

     Going forward, Fujitsu will turn to IT services as a fresh driver of growth, exploiting new technologies in areas like cloud computing and big-data analytics. Having already achieved an operating profit margin of nearly 10%, the company will work to apply its information technology know-how to such fields as health care, automobiles and agriculture while ramping up efforts abroad. Fujitsu plans to invest 200 billion yen ($1.95 billion) in such fields over the three years through fiscal 2016, seeking to close the gap with global players like Amazon.com and IBM.

(Nikkei)

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