LCD business merger forces Hitachi display rebrand, restructuring in Europe

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Parent group R&D goes to Taiwan

Following the Sony, Hitachi, and Toshiba display business merger in November 2011 –  forming the Japan Display Inc. Group –  Hitachi’s European venture has now become a fully-owned part of JDI, renaming itself Kaohsiung Opto-Electronics Europe Ltd., or KOE Europe for short.

The three companies were facing stiff competition from Chinese players and South Korea’s LG and Samsung.  The merger of the three Japanese business interests was co-sponsored by a public fund in Japan, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, to the tune of $2.6 billion and entails the worldwide rebranding of its subsidiaries, as well as a streamlining of its operations.

The newly formed KOE Europe Ltd – formerly Hitachi Display Products Group – is a manufacturer and developer of small to medium-sized LCD IPS panels, ranging from smallish 3.5-inch to desktop-class 21.3-inch screens, specialising in several industrial and professional market segments including medical imaging, rugged industrial applications and even ATM machines.

Reaffirming the company’s commitment to its current clientele, Mark Stanley, General Manager, KOE Europe, explained: “The legacy of Hitachi will enable KOE Europe to enter the European market as a strong and confident, premium brand display supplier. KOE Europe will support a large, established European customer base through an existing distribution sales channel and regional sales teams.

“To maximise support for the European market, KOE Europe aims to ensure a balanced mix of design focused distribution partners working alongside our direct OEM sales force.”

The company’s European headquarters are in Maidenhead, Berkshire, right here in the UK, while its parent, the Japan Display Group, has its main R&D centres in Taiwan, not Japan, as you’d be inclined to think.

Competitor Samsung, which claims to be the biggest LCD manufacturer in the world, has also found it necessary to spin off its LCD display arm into a separate company following heavy losses in 2011. These consumer-grade displays are facing an uphill battle to regain profitability