After Pioneer decided to shut down its TV business in 2009, Hitachi yesterday announced they are ready to stop producing and outsourcing all production of TVs to makers in Taiwan and other Asian countries. And even though Hitachi said they will continue selling TVs in the future, this sounds very much like a long goodbye.
The move isn’t a big surprise, as it’s notoriously difficult to make money with TVs. Many of the big electronics makers have been struggling to bring their TV business into the black recently, i.e. Sony or market leader Samsung (Hitachi expects to lose money on that segment in the current fiscal year, too).
The company has just one flat panel production plant left in Japan, which it plans to close by year-end, according to reports in Japanese media.
It’s good timing to drop out of the TV business, five months after the March 11 earthquake in Japan (which hurt Hitachi’s sales), the switch in Japan from analog to digital TV broadcasting two weeks ago (which triggered a massive demand for new TVs that’s now ending), and five days after the company announced a 97% year-on-year drop in net profit for the quarter through June.