New cell phone maker NEC-Casio goes America, targets 200% international sales boost


As MobileCrunch reported back in August, three of Japan’s eight top cell phone makers, namely NEC, Casio and Hitachi are going to merge their cell phone businesses next year. Under the agreement, NEC plans to integrate its handset division into a tie-up that already existed between Hitachi and Casio starting April 2010 (the begin of the new fiscal year under the Japanese business calendar).

In the meantime, the companies involved decided on a name for the new venture: NEC Casio Mobile. The company’s capitalization stands at a relatively modest $55 million, with NEC holding a 71% stake, Casio 20% and Hitachi 9%. And as I speculated in my previous article, that new company plans to enter the global market in a (relatively) aggressive way.

NEC Casio Mobile plans to ship a total of five million handsets in markets outside Japan, up more than 200% from the numbers for fiscal 2008 (handset sales of NEC, Casio and Hitachi combined). By the end of 2011, the new company wants to sell handsets, including “smartphones”, in North America. NEC Casio will also enter the Mexican and Australian markets by that time.

In fiscal 2008, the three companies involved in the new venture shipped a combined 8.9 million cell phones, 1.5 million of which found their way outside Japan. NEC Casio follows both Sharp and Panasonic in their plans to bring made-in-Japan cell phones abroad.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]