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Panasonic turns up the juice for overseas consumer electronics

Western ops headed under one roof; air conditioner production slated for Vietnam

OSAKA -- Panasonic looks to boost its already solid overseas consumer electronics business, in part by integrating production and sales activities in the West as well as by manufacturing air conditioners in Vietnam.

These efforts illustrate the Japanese company's wish to bolster foreign operations given the uninspiring outlook for growth domestically.

Panasonic in fiscal 2018 will place its entities handling consumer electronics sales in Europe and North America under the control of the Appliances Company, which handles white goods, televisions and other appliances.

The in-house company already oversees all production capabilities, but the move will let it make development decisions faster and operate more dynamically by managing the bottom line as well, Appliances Company President Tetsuro Homma told The Nikkei on Monday. This change will remove the wall between manufacturing and marketing, he said.

The Japanese multinational already has integrated management operations in this way for its consumer electronics businesses in China and India, accelerating development in these markets and pumping life into the sales of washing machines, refrigerators and the like. Panasonic's revenues are seen growing in the 20% range this business year in India and by 10% in China, returning to double digits there for the first time in seven years.

Panasonic also plans to crank up its air conditioner business in Asia, as rising incomes across Southeast Asia spur demand. The company will add to its four regional production bases by making air conditioners in Vietnam, where the Appliances Company has a factory for consumer electronics products. Details including the investment's scale and timing are to be finalized within the current fiscal year.

(Nikkei)

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