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Chinese competitors finally squeeze Panasonic out of solar panel business
Competition with China is hard for Japanese manufacturers. At first, the southwestern neighbors have 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. Panasonic will for this reason curtail the production of solar panels in 2022.
Image Source: Nikkei Asian Review
As the Nikkei Asian Review notes, in 2021, Panasonic was still hatching plans to become one of the three world leaders in the production of solar panels, for which in 2021 it turned the core business of Sanyo Electric into its own division. Solar panel prices have been reduced by about 30% since 2021, largely driven by Chinese competitors, making this Panasonic 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 terminated last year.
One of Panasonic’s Japanese factories will focus on solar power converters, while the other will be reassigned. 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.