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Samsung, Sony join forces on LCDs

The consumer electronics giants form a 50-50 joint venture in Korea to produce liquid crystal displays for flat-panel TVs, as the market for LCD panels heats up.

Consumer electronics giants Samsung and Sony have established a 50-50 joint venture in South Korea for the production of liquid crystal displays for flat-panel televisions.

The two companies said in a statement that they will invest $1.8 billion (2.1 trillion won) in a new entity called S-LCD. The venture is located south of Seoul and will focus on making LCD displays for large televisions using the "seventh generation" manufacturing process. This production method increases production efficiency by allowing more subpanels to be cut from a single 1870-by-2200-millimeter glass plate.

The facility is slated to begin mass production by the middle of next year and will be capable of producing 60,000 LCD panels per month, the companies added.

LCDs, which allow for a much thinner display compared with traditional cathode ray tube displays, have become increasingly popular for televisions and computer screens. Worldwide revenue for LCD panels is expected to reach $47 billion in 2004, up 32 percent from last year, according to research firm iSuppli.

Samsung will assign a senior executive to be the president and chief executive officer of S-LCD, while Sony has picked Keiji Nakazawa to be the venture's chief financial officer.

Three additional representatives from Samsung and Sony will be selected to join the new company's executive board.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore. CNET's Ed Frauenheim contributed to this report from San Francisco.