Sanyo Launches Display Venture with Kodak

Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, Japan's third-largest consumer electronics maker, said on Tuesday it will set up a venture with Eastman Kodak Co to get a head start over rivals in making ultra-thin next-generation display screens.

The venture, in which they will invest a combined 50 billion yen ($403 million), would expand cooperation between the two in organic electroluminescent (OEL) display technology.

Japanese electronics makers hope to use the power-efficient next-generation screens in cell phones, digital cameras and other hand-held gadgets with size and battery-power constraints.

Volume output would begin in February 2002, launching the first salvo in a battle for the fledgling but potentially fast-growing market for active-matrix OEL screens, which Sanyo and Kodak hope will generate 70 billion yen in sales for the venture in 2005.

Sanyo said at a news conference it would invest 33 billion yen and take a 66 percent in the venture while Kodak would hold the remaining stake and invest 17 billion yen.

A slew of other Japanese high-tech manufacturers plans to pile into the market over the next year or so.

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