Competition with China is hard for Japanese manufacturers. At first, the southwestern neighbors bypassed Japanese competitors in the segment of liquid crystal panels, now the turn has come to solar. Chinese manufacturers are ready to offer lower prices, which makes Japanese products uncompetitive in the world market. For this reason, Panasonic will phase out solar panels in 2022.
As noted by the Nikkei Asian Review, in 2009 Panasonic was still hatching plans to become one of the three world leaders in the production of solar panels, for which in 2011 it turned the core business of Sanyo Electric into its own division. Since 2012, solar panel prices have been cut by about 30%, largely driven by Chinese competitors, making Panasonic’s business unprofitable. The company now intends to discontinue core activities at factories in Malaysia and Japan by March 2022. Cooperation with Tesla in this area was discontinued last year.
One of the Japanese enterprises Panasonic will focus on the production of power converters for solar panels, the second will be transferred to another job. In addition, the company expects to find application for its competencies in smart city management systems. After Panasonic leaves the business, there will remain two solar and panel manufacturers in Japan: Kyocera and Sharp. About 30% of the global solar panel market is now owned by Chinese manufacturers.
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