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HP Japan focuses on Tokyo

The final assembly of HP PCs will move from Singapore as the company aims to boost sales in Japan.

Hewlett-Packard Japan plans to move final assembly of its personal computers for sale in Japan from Singapore to Tokyo by 1999, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's largest business daily.

HP Japan's move aims at cutting transportation costs and shortening delivery time. The company also aims to step up production under OEM arrangements in Japan, the paper reported.

Domestic PC sales in Japan rose nearly 30 percent in August compared to year-ago figures, boosted by the launch of Apple Computer's iMac and Microsoft's Windows 98, according to the Nippon Electric Big Stores Association. Monthly revenues reached 24.98 billion yen, or $182.9 million.

Semifinished HP products from Singapore and elsewhere will be shipped to the company's plant in Hino, Tokyo, for final assembly, the paper reported. The company hopes the move will allow it to tailor its products to specific customer needs and boost sales, the paper reported.

The company has already this year moved manufacturing of its high-end models to Japan on a trial basis, and it aims to double PC sales in the year ending October 1999 from just under the 90,000 units estimated for the current fiscal year, according to the Nihon Keizai report.

Reuters contributed to this report.