TOKYO, Japan May 23, 2001 -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.,
Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT) today
announced that the two companies have agreed to enter into a wide-ranging
strategic partnership that will bring together the strengths of both
companies in information services, home appliances, and other related
Through this agreement, Matsushita Electric and Hitachi will actively
work together to develop products and services for increasingly important
areas such as the IC card solutions business and other information
service sectors; planning and development of home network appliance
systems based on the ECHONET* system; and joint development
of key components in the area of home appliances.
*Energy Conservation and Homecare Network
IC Card Solutions
As our world increasingly transforms itself into an information networked
society, services that utilize these networks as backbones of our
daily activities continue to expand at a rapid pace. Fully realizing
the challenges and opportunities ahead, the two companies together
will develop and provide total solutions based on integrated circuit
(IC) cards - from planning and development to production and delivery
of service applications that exploit the vast potential of these cards.
This collaboration will generate products and services utilizing Hitachi's
strength in financial systems such as validation and settlement systems
and Matsushita Electric's strength in the B-to-C systems necessary
for optimally integrating the individual network components.
Home Network Appliances
The two companies also intend to collaborate in tapping into the rapid
expansion of home network systems linking home appliances with social
infrastructures. The advanced implementations of energy efficient,
and ecology-minded measures these systems can bring offer unparalleled
opportunities for both greater product benefits and user convenience.
Some areas of cooperation between the companies include R&D related
to an ECHONET-based networking concept that aims to help establish
a de facto standard for home networking systems; development of networked
home energy conservation systems; and other related value-added products
and services, including the establishment of a joint-venture company
this year. The companies also plan a joint R&D program for new
home network appliances that support the new IPv6* addressing scheme.
*IPv6: A next-generation Internet communications system that will
replace the IPv4 system currently in use. IPv6 was developed to overcome
the shortage of IP addresses, a problem created by the explosive growth
of the Internet.
White Goods Incorporating New Environmental Technologies
To form the appliance culture of the future, Matsushita Electric and
Hitachi will also collaborate on R&D that will focus on creating
products and technologies that, in terms of both energy-efficiency
and recyclability, go beyond any existing today. The innovations in
environmental technologies emerging from these efforts aim to help
create de facto standards whose priority is the protection of the
global environment. Some of these technologies may include joint development
of next-generation drive systems for electrical appliances, as well
as globally based joint development and purchasing systems relating
to components and materials for improving cost efficiency and product
competitiveness. Divisional executives from each company will hold
discussions on a regular basis to promote speedy implementation in
these areas of cooperation.
Following their collaboration in the areas of information services
and home appliances, the two companies will also study the possibility
of cooperation in the digital AV business and production engineering
areas that will make full use of advanced IT technologies. Such efforts
will combine Matsushita's digital manufacturing system
with Hitachi's Engineering for Electronics Design and Manufacturing
Service (EDMS) .
About Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic,
National, Technics, and Quasar brand names, is a worldwide leader
in the development and manufacture of electronics products for a wide
range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka,
Japan, the company recorded consolidated sales of US$61.45 billion
for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001. In addition to the Tokyo
and other Japanese stock exchanges, Matsushita's shares are listed
on the Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, New York, Pacific, and Paris
stock exchanges. For more information, visit the Matsushita web site
About Hitachi, Ltd.
Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's
leading global electronics companies, with fiscal 2000 (ended March
31, 2001) consolidated sales of 8,417 billion yen ($67.9 billion*).
The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including
computers, semiconductors, consumer products, and power and industrial
equipment. For more information on Hitachi, Ltd., please visit Hitachi's
web site at http://global.hitachi.com
* At an exchange rate of 124 yen to the dollar.