Major shake-up in Japan's mobile world: NEC, Hitachi and Casio to merge cell phone businesses

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Big news from Japan’s mobile phone industry today (Friday afternoon Japanese time). Various Japanese media are reporting that NEC, Hitachi and Casio are in talks to merge their cell phone operations to become Japan’s second biggest manufacturer, following Sharp.

Reportedly, NEC plans to integrate its cell phone business into a tie-up that already exists between Hitachi and Casio. According to rumors, NEC wants to take a majority stake in the new entity, which would then control about 20% of the Japanese cell phone market.

The joint venture is apparently scheduled to start operations as early as April 2010 and seen as a way to cut development costs in a quickly shrinking domestic market. This could also mean that more Japanese handsets find their way to the US and other markets.

The companies already issued a statement saying no decision has been made so far. Translation: The rumors are true, but wait for our confirmation.

We’ll update this post with news as soon as we get them.

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