Toshiba to merge design ops for TVs, PCs and tablets, create 'fusion products'

Like its Japanese peers, Toshiba is struggling with large losses in televisions

Toshiba said Thursday it will reorganize its TV business in Japan, merging product designers with those for computers and tablets in attempt to create "fusion products" and simplify its product lines.

The company said it will also move more production outside of Japan and increase its reliance on foreign third-party manufacturers. Toshiba said it will relocate about 1,000 of its design and development staff in total. The firm has about 30,000 employees.

Toshiba has until now largely developed its TVs and computers separately, but said it will now combine design and development at a complex in western Tokyo. This will include creating products that combine traits from the traditional categories of TVs, tablets and computers, the company said in a press release. It will also work to simplify its various electronics product lines and platforms.

The massive conglomerate, which makes everything from flash memory to nuclear power plants, has stayed profitable while other Japanese manufacturers have faltered, but has been weighed down by its electronic product division, especially TVs.

Like other domestic electronics makers, the company was deeply in the red in TVs last year, booking a 50 billion yen (US$630 million) operating loss, which cut into a strong showing from its other businesses.

The company said it would strengthen its TV manufacturing in countries where costs are lower, such as Indonesia and Egypt, as part of its plan to establish a highly competitive global production system.

Toshiba, which sells TVs under the Regza brand, is trying to stem losses in the business but is more focused on its profitable NAND flash factories and nuclear power plant business.

In a presentation earlier this week, Toshiba said it is working on a new line of data center products and services that will be built on its own hard disk and flash products. The company will also look to market small-scale, simplified atomic reactors to grow its energy business.

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