Looks like Panasonic sees more plasma in its future. Matsushita Electric, parent of Panasonic, said today it was going to double its plasma output by this coming July at its Amagasaki City plant in Japan. This would be two months ahead of schedule. What does this mean? Panasonic foresees more demand for the large-sized, flat panel TVs. However, ask the rest of the industry, and most plasma makers will tell you there is actually an oversupply of plasma panels, which has led to lower pricing and forced some players (such as Sony and Pioneer) into the red. But that didn't stop Samsung and LG, both Korean players, from also upping their capacity—even though both lost money on plasma in the 2nd quarter of this year and have barely caught up to break even by the 3rd.
Masaaki Fujita, director of Matsushita's plasma TV unit, told reporters on Friday he would aim to boost the operating profit margin of the plasma business to above 5 percent in the next business year starting in April, helped by higher sales and productivity gains at Amagasaki.
Of course, both Sony and Sharp are quickly preparing lots of newly-sized LCD panels, some over 40 inches. We'll see how this bodes for all of us this year as the flat panel wars kick into high gear.