SANYO – NOKIA CDMA2000 JV (Interview for CNBC)

Was interviewed today about the announced JV between SANYO and Nokia for CDMA2000 phone handsets (I added some corrections here):

[Q1] How will SANYO benefit from this, since they are the ones who have the technology, what do they hope to gain from working with Nokia? Or is this merely a way to reduce costs for the company, since it’s struggling to remain profitable?

It is clear to me that NOKIA will benefit, since NOKIA needs 3G know-how from Japan because all markets where NOKIA is dominating are behind compared to Japan in 3G development, and also NOKIA needs a lot of other advanced technology from SANYO.

Of course who benefits depends both on the contract conditions and the relative strengths of the parties.

It’s clear that financially NOKIA is the much stronger of the two. NOKIA is financially very strong, while SANYO is in a very weak position, so it’s a very clever move for NOKIA.

[Q2] Is it already too late for Nokia to make such a move in the CDMA 2000 market, with strong players like Samsung, LG and Motorola already entrenched in the market?

I don’t think it’s too late – both Motorola and NOKIA demonstrated rebounds recently with new design initiatives such as Motorola’s RAZR and NOKIA did a successsful turn-round by introducing clam-shell phones a trend which NOKIA had missed by not being linked sufficiently into Japan before.

To succeed you need to make spectactular phones which match consumer needs, and you need the financial and manufacturing power as well as the brand. The combination of SANYO‘s technology with NOKIA’s financial strength and brand, as well as NOKIA’s efficient supply chain are a good basis.

[Q3] When would you expect to see the benefits of such a move to emerge?

I think one should not underestimate the cultural risks. NOKIA and SANYO have extremely different corporate cultures, and we have seen many cases where corporate cultures lead to great difficulties.

I think the key will be to manage the difference in corporate cultures of two very proud companies. Locating the JV in the USA might help.

SONY-Ericsson has demonstrated that such a JV can be successful. In the case of SONY-Ericsson it has taken several years for the JV to succeed. If one takes SONY-Ericsson as a measure, then it might take a couple of years (3-4 years) for this JV to succeed. If it’s faster than that it will be a positive surprise.

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Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation acquires Dorlastan fibers business from Lanxess

Lanxess continues refocussing following spin-out from Bayer

Textiles business moves to Asia

On 17 November 2005, Lanxess (Köln, Germany) and Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation (Osaka, Japan) announced the planned sale of Lanxess’ Dorlastan business to Asahi Kasei Fibers Corporation.

Lanxess’ Dorlastan division includes production sites at Dormagen, Germany, and in Bushy Park, South Carolina, USA:

  • Dormagen (Germany): currently 280 employees, 170 to be transferred to Asahi Kasei Fibers Corp.
  • Bushy Park (South Carolina, USA): currently 190 employees, 160 to be transferred to Asahi Kasei Fibers Corp.

Lanxess

Lanxess was founded in 2004 as a spin-out from Germany’s chemical giant Bayer, and includes some of Bayer’s former chemicals and polymers divisions.

Lanxess focuses on manufacturing and marketing plastics, rubber, intermediates and speciality chemicals.

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SonyEricsson design team presentation & discussion at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo

The SonyEricsson mobile phone design team gave a very impressive presentation of their work at the Swedish Embassy yesterday.

Here is Art Director Mr Kawagoi, who created the famous SonyEricsson logo, explaining the messages contained in his creation:

SONY-Ericsson Design Director explaining his thoughts behind creating the SONY-Ericsson logo
SONY-Ericsson Design Director explaining his thoughts behind creating the SONY-Ericsson logo

Here Swedish Managers of the SonyEricsson Creative Design Center from Lund/Sweden:

SONY-Ericsson presentation at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo
SONY-Ericsson presentation at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo

My conclusion: expect a lot more great designs out of SonyEricsson. Also, there is every indication it’s a very successful Japan-Swedish cooperation.

[images in this post are taken with a DoCoMo/Sharp SH900i 3G/FOMA camera-phone in 2Megapixel setting, and sent through the air via DoCoMo’s FOMA network. Images are reproduced here in much less than the original 1224 x 1632 pixel size, which would not fit on most PC screens.]

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Cable and Wireless-Japan acquired by Softbank???!!

Today’s top article in Nikkei is about Cable and Wireless-Japan: the article reports that Cable and Wireless is in discussion with Softbank and a private equity firm to sell their Japan operations. Apparently this news article is not confirmed, and it already mentions a purchase prize on the order of US$ 100 million. This article appeared in the top position in Nikkei – but there are several things a bit mysterious about it.

I did not follow Cable and Wireless recently in Japan, but it seems that C&W made a loss of YEN 61.6 OKU on sales of YEN 713 OKU, i.e. almost 10% loss.

Spent all morning discussing with one of the innovation managers of a big European telco. Interesting. Spent afternoon with a US bio-tech company which which is thinking of asking us to build their business in Japan, and in the evening listened to a talk by Tadashi Onodera, the CEO of KDDI. Expected him to talk mainly about mobile – but he did not. His focus was a national VOIP network they are building, attacking the fixed line income of NTT. Got hold of him after his talk and discussed with him for about 10 minutes.

UPDATE: on October 26, 2004, Softbank announced the acquisition of Cable & Wireless IDC. Total cost of the acquistion is announced as YEN 12.3 billion (= US$ 110 million)

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The Economist about 3G and Vodafone in Japan

An article in The Economist about Vodafone is partly based on our analysis:

“Vodafone- Not so big in Japan” (The Economist, Sept 30th, 2004)

Japan telecommunications industry market report

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Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation (TELC) and KONE enter into capital alliance

Toshiba

Toshiba Elevators and Finnish KONE invest in each other

Toshiba Elevators sends one Director to KONE’s Board, and KONE sends two Directors to Toshiba Elevator’s Board

On December 20, 2001, Toshiba Elevator and KONE announced, that in March 2002,:

  • TELC will issue new shares and increase its capital, and KONE will acquire a 20% holding of the new capitalization
  • TELC will acquire 5% of KONE’s shares
  • TELC will nominate one Director to the Board of Directors of KONE
  • KONE will nominate two Directors to the Board of Directors of TELC

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation (TELC)

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation (TELC) is a subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba Corporation, established on February 16, 1967, the first escalator was installed in 1966, and the first elevator in 1967.

Toshiba Elevators produces advanced elevators, such as double decker elevators.

TELC has sales of approx. YEN 120 billion (US$ 1.2 billion) per year, and employs about 4700 people.

KONE

KONE was founded in 1910. KONE’s annual sales are on the order of EURO 7 billion, and KONE employs about 47,000 people. KONE’s shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Exchange.

Japan electronics industries – mono zukuri. Preview this report:

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