The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
Telecommunications• Fujitsu Limited (OTCPK:FJTSY) announced that it will upgrade the capacity of the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 [SEA-ME-WE 4] submarine cable network connecting numerous countries between Singapore and France. With completion scheduled in 2009, this multi-million dollar second upgrade project will further triple the existing trunk capacity of the system, enabling SEA-ME-WE 4 to support the increased broadband traffic requirements along the route. Owned and operated by 16 international telecommunications carriers with 16 landing points. Fujitsu had the turnkey responsibility of designing and laying for Segment 1 linking Singapore to Mumbai. The network's capacity was subsequently doubled in the third quarter of 2007.
Hardware• Pioneer Corp. said it would incur losses this fiscal year as it booked charges to pull out of plasma television-panel manufacturing after failing to convince consumers to pay steep prices for its TVs. The company cuts its net outlook for this fiscal year through March to a 15.0 billion yen (US$147.1 million) loss from the 6 billion yen (US$58.8 million) profit it previously expected. It blamed expenses for the plasma-panel pullout as well as higher taxes for the second downward revision in its profit outlook in just over four months. Instead of manufacturing its own panels, Pioneer said it is now in talks with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (MC-OLD) on securing supplies for its TV sets.
• Fujitsu Ltd. announced the release of its new series of MHZ2 BT 2.5" hard disk drives with capacity of up to 500 GB. The new series responds to the growing need for hard drives in the 2.5" form factor that can handle high-volume storage for such products as digital video recorders and external hard drives. The MHZ2 BT series requires only 1.8 W of power for read and write operations, ranking it among the most power-efficient drives in its class. The series is one of many new products announced as part of Fujitsu’s Green Policy Innovation program, unveiled in December 2007 to promote energy-efficient products and services as a way to help customers lower their ecological footprint.
Mobile/ Wireless• Samsung Electronics Co. (OTC:SSNLF) plans to build a high-speed wireless internet network based on Korea`s home-grown technology WiBro in Japan. Samsung said that it has agreed with UQ Communications Inc. of Japan to provide equipment and facilities to establish the WiBro network. UQ Communications, a consortium led by Japan`s second-largest mobile carrier KDDI, plans to start a test service in Tokyo and Yokohama in February next year and launch the commercial service around next summer.
• Mitsubishi Electric (OTCPK:MIELY) pulled the plug on its mobile handset operations, citing intense competition in the Japanese market. Local vendors are struggling to compete as handsets made by the major European and U.S. players grow in popularity in Japan. Mitsubishi is the second major Japanese name to disappear from the market this year, following Kyocera's (NYSE:KYO) acquisition of Sanyo Electric's (OTC:SANYY) unprofitable mobile phone arm in January. Closure of the mobile unit will affect 600 employees across R&D, manufacturing and sales, although Mitsubishi said these will be repositioned within the group, mainly at its communications systems business.
Technology• The Japanese government is so bullish about the technology that it has earmarked US$309 million a year for fuel cell development and plans for 10 million homes, about one-fourth of Japanese households, to be powered by fuel cells by 2020. The technology, which draws energy from the chemical reaction when hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water, is more commonly seen in futuristic cars with tanks of hydrogen instead of gasoline, a key factor in pollution and global warming. Nearly every home in Japanese cities is supplied with natural gas, which could make it relatively easy to spread fuel cell technology there.
• A plan by Chubu Electric Power Co. to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel to generate electricity at a nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture received approval from the government, clearing the way for its implementation. Governor Yoshinobu Ishikawa formally conveyed the local consent to the so-called pluthermal, or plutonium-thermal, plan to Chubu Electric President Toshio Mita at his office.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming• Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) will team up with several Japanese companies to produce animated features in Japan. Disney will work with Toei Animation (OTC:TOEAF), Madhouse and Jinni's Animation Studios. The Nikkei reported that the move was made to help Disney gain wider acceptance of its animated programming in Asia. The Nikkei said the partnerships would allow Disney to tap local talent and computer graphics technology to produce programs for audiences in Japan and across Asia. These programs will be broadcast by satellite and terrestrial channels, but Disney will also look into delivering content to mobile phones, the report said. For Disney, this will mark the first time that it has gone outside of the U.S with the core production processes for major programs. The studio has tried to enter the global animation market by exporting programs, but it has concluded that production should be done locally so that its shows will be widely accepted in different countries and cultures.
Disclaimer: IRG is not responsible for the accuracy of the news compiled within this article, which is based on publicly available information.