Friday, May 18, 2012

Japanese TV? Not Anymore They Don't!

This story makes me go, "Hmmmm?" Several Japanese TV manufacturers have stopped making TVs in Japan. This is truly the decline and fall of Japanese civilization!

I have already written about how high energy costs are going to force many factories to close especially if TEPCO is forced to raise electricity charges for these factories. For more on that, please refer to Japan's Collapse Will be Absolute and it Cannot be Stopped - Here's Why:

All one needs to do to see what that hollowing out has done to the middle class in America is to get on an airplane and fly to, say, Detroit to see what is left of industry there. It's not rocket science, but where's there's no industry, there are no jobs.

That is the future we are heading for in this country and I see no way out. Zerohedge writes in: A New Beginning in Japan: Glimmers of False Hope:

TEPCO, the bailed out owner of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, is trying to shove rate increases of 17% down the throats of its commercial customers—while rationing power at the same time. Power shortages will spread across most of Japan this summer as the last of 54 nuclear power plants will be taken off line in a few weeks. 

... Hitachi, a major Japanese TV manufacturer has already closed doors on TV production in Japan. Now this?

Toshiba said Thursday it has stopped making televisions in Japan, citing slow domestic demand as falling prices, fierce global competition and a strong yen pressure the country’s electronics makers.
The IT-and-engineering conglomerate shuttered production lines at its last remaining domestic TV plant in Fukaya, near Tokyo, at the end of March, a company spokesman told AFP.
Toshiba, the maker of the Regza brand of televisions, has shifted all of its television production to factories in China, Indonesia, Egypt and Poland, he said, adding: “The fall in domestic demand is the reason.”
The move is the latest development highlighting the plunging fortunes of Japan’s once world-beating electronics firms.
A strong yen, intense global competition—particularly from South Korean firms—and falling retail prices of televisions have left Japanese manufacturers swimming in red ink for the financial year that ended in March.
The industry received a temporary boost from a now-ended government stimulus program aimed at encouraging the purchase of energy-efficient appliances, but demand has slackened in an economy that has been limping along for many years.
Domestic television demand also surged when the nation stopped analogue broadcasting last July, by which time nearly all households and corporations had bought new televisions capable of receiving digital broadcasts.

On top of low demand, I'm absolutely sure that the higher electricity costs played a major role in Toshiba's decision. 

There are two issues at play here. The problem of high energy costs in Japan (and they are going to go higher) and the collapse of the TV viewing audience in Japan. For more on that please refer to "Why the Digital Conversion Will Destroy TV Tokyo and TBS."

TV as a hardware industry and as entertainment vehicle have a poor future in Japan. The other two TV manufacturers in Japan, Sony and Panasonic, haven't thrown in the towel, but are attempting to tie up with South Korean manufacturers...

The time's they are a changing! If you had told people 20 years ago that the Japanese would not be manufacturing TVs today, everyone would have thought you were nuts.... What is Japan? Geisha, samurai, sushi... and TV sets.


Andrew Joseph said...

Good gods! I have a Toshiba TV! Top of the freaking line purchased two years ago! It's a great product.
Every country has high energy costs - obviously some more than others - but Japan needs to get off its ass and provide better energy-manufacturing alternatives or it will indeed lose more than its identity.

Anonymous said...

Decreased consumer demand was stated. I am out of touch with current Japanese's buying habits (disposable income). Is this fact directly related to an aging population who want to not spend money on newer products? I already believe your two other point including escalating energy prices.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Yes. I don't have any data but I do believe that and aging population is contributing to the fact that people are not interested in TVs... Younger folks like cellphones and computers. Older folks watch TV, but that age group is not spending nor is it expanding in total numbers (only as % of population - in a population # that is decreasing)

Mr. Nobody said...

Hi Mike,

Two issues.

1. Doesn't Japan/NHK still have a television tax? What is it per year? $200? $300? Why spend that kind of money for a television, when one could use the money towards mobile service or internet access and get even more films and shows with an electronic device?

2. Most people aren't aware of it, but TVs have become commodity items. Commodity items generally aren't very profitable.

Since they aren't very profitable, say a Sony TV might have a Hitachi panel, with LG circuit boards in it, and assembled by a third party in S. Korea or China. The only thing that is Sony is in essence the label on it... If one knows electronics, why buy a Sony, except for regards to something like brand/national loyalty, when one could buy an identical TV with a name like LG, for 50-75% of the price?

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