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Matsushita launches R&D firm in Beijing.

BEIJING, Feb. 7 Kyodo

(EDS: CHANGING DATELINE AND ADDING INFORMATION)

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Wednesday it has established a research and development (R&D) company in Beijing to develop advanced digital technologies for the Chinese market, such as next-generation mobile phones and digital televisions.

The new company, Matsushita Research & Development (China) Co. (CMRD), is capitalized at $6 million and will begin operating in May.

Matsushita is the first Japanese high-technology company to have a comprehensive R&D center in China, according to the Osaka-based firm known for its Panasonic brand products.

Visiting Matsushita executives, including Chairman Yoichi Morishita, announced the Jan. 15 establishment of CMRD at a press conference in Beijing.

China is expected to become a mega-market for communications network-related products. For example, the number of mobile phone service subscribers exceeded that in Japan in June last year, reaching 60 million.

CMRD consists of four groups -- Advanced Mobile Communication Laboratories (AMCL), AVC China Development Center, CRT Development Center and Beijing Research Laboratory, Matsushita said.

AMCL will develop next-generation mobile phones and advanced applications for mobile phones primarily for the Chinese market. It was established and will be operated by Matsushita Communication Industrial Co.

CMRD plans to begin its operation with 100 researchers and scientists in the first year. It will expand its staff to 1,500 over the next four years with total investment reaching about $400 million in 2005, the company said.

AMCL will begin its operation with 70 researchers and engineers in the first year with plans to expand its staff to 1,000 in 2005.

The Matsushita group hopes to grab 10% of the global market for mobile phone handsets in 2003, up from 6% in 2000.

''China is the most important market in the world in the 21st century'' for achieving the target, Minoru Kuramoto, senior managing director of Matsushita Communication, said at a news conference.
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Publication:Japan Consumer Electronics Scan
Date:Feb 12, 2001
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