Japan IT equipment investment to reach US$203 billion in 2004

Major Japanese IT companies will spend a total of 2.32 trillion yen (about US$203 billion) in equipment in fiscal year 2004 (April 2004-March 2005), with R&D investment totaling 2.98 trillion yen (about US$260 billion), according to the companies. The companies, including Hitachi, Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Toshiba, NEC, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, Sanyo Electric and Sharp, all aim to invest mostly in semiconductor products such as system chips and flash memory, as well as TFT LCDs and batteries for portable products. In comparison, US-based Intel plans to invest US$3.6-4.0 billion in 2004 while South Korea-based Samsung Electronics plans to invest 7 trillion won (about US$59 billion) in its semiconductor and TFT LCD segments. Taiwan-based TFT LCD makers aim to spend about NT$207 billion to NT$212 billion (about US$6 billion) in next generation plants this year.