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Business

Panasonic shifts focus to middle-class homes in Asia

OSAKA -- Panasonic will expand its business building middle-class dwellings in Asia, more than doubling the number of personnel in the region to 370.

     The company, through subsidiary PanaHome, has mainly built luxury homes in Southeast Asia costing more than 70 million yen ($564,000), but will shift the focus to the middle class because the high-income market is still small.

     Osaka-based Panasonic will build the residences by assembling pre-made concrete materials at building sites, shortening the construction period to as little as three months, nearly half what was required previously. The company says the houses will cost somewhere in the low- to mid-20 million yen range, roughly the same level as those built by local contractors. However, when it comes to insulation, waterproofing and ventilation, these homes will use materials similar to homes made for the wealthy.

     Panasonic will supply parts for the interior while PanaHome will provide other building material. Some materials will be shipped from Japan while others will be procured from local companies.

     The company will quickly quintuple the number of personnel in charge of sales and finding development sites, raising that figure to 200. The initiative will get off the ground in Malaysia, where Panasonic will partner with local development businesses as early as this fiscal year and embark on housing development projects encompassing 100 homes each.

     In Indonesia and other countries, Panasonic will broaden its partnerships with local companies and expand its Southeast Asian housing business from 1 billion yen annually to 25 billion yen.

     Panasonic, along with PanaHome, has embarked on condominium construction in Taiwan. For 62 condo units, the company will pitch interior furnishings that it makes, including appliances and flooring. If accepted, about 50% of the interior, or about 1 million yen worth, will be Panasonic-made.

     The company seeks 2 trillion yen in group sales related to homes in fiscal 2018, 50% more than in fiscal 2014. Panasonic will increase the number of salespeople by 50% to 170 by fiscal 2018. Together with PanaHome, the company has entered into talks with government officials on developing smart cities in Taiwan and Indonesia.

(Nikkei)

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