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Matsushita ups DVD prod’n

U.S., Asian demand on rise

TOKYO — Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said on Monday that it is stepping up its production of digital videodisc players and discs around the world because of increased demand in the United States and Southeast Asia.

Matsushita said it will increase its production of DVDs at its subsidiary in Torrance by more than threefold by September, while upping production at a wholly owned subsidiary Panasonic Disc Service Corp. from the current 600,000 discs per month to 2 million per month.

At its Osaka facility, Matsushita is also planning to increase its production of DVD players to 100,000 a month. In 1997, Matsushita made 400,000 players at the facility.

For the fiscal year that ends March 31, 1999, Matsushita is trying to capture 40% of the DVD player market and the company estimates that 3 million units will be sold worldwide during the fiscal year. Due to Japan’s worst economic downturn since the end of World War II, sales in the nation have been disappointing, the company said.

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