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Toshiba to cut 3000 jobs in TV manufacturing, moves to target 4K in the future

Toshiba, the Japanese consumer electronics firm, said this week it would cut the jobs of 3000 workers in its television manufacturing division — half of the unit’s workforce, Reuters reported.

The changes will result in the closing of two of its three overseas TV manufacturing facilities. The company did not say which of its factories in China, Indonesia and Poland would close. Toshiba makes Regza brand TV sets.

Toshiba said it would focus on emerging markets including Asia and Africa and end sales in “unprofitable regions.” The changes, the company said, have been made “toward improving profitability and strengthening foundations of the business.”

A shift in focus to making large-screen Ultra HD (UHD) 4K LCD TVs “where growing demand is expected” is the goal of the company, Toshiba said. Leading global manufacturers have been looking at this segment, Reuters reported, which offers four times the amount of detail as 1080p HDTV, as an area of potential growth. Panasonic and South Korea’s LG are among the manufacturers that have launched Ultra HD television sets.

Toshiba, as have other television set manufacturers, has been hit by slowing demand, falling prices and increased competition with standard HDTV sets. The company’s television segment has been losing money for the past two years due to weak global sales — partly due to a slowdown in Europe and a fall in domestic demand after a short-lived boost from the switch to digital broadcasting.

Reuters reported that Toshiba’s Digital Products and Services division, which includes television manufacturing, saw its losses run to $166 million in the financial year ending March 31. The firm said it would separate the TV manufacturing business from its digital division and merge it with Toshiba Home Appliances Corp.

Toshiba’s target of 4K technology comes as Japan is looking to become the first country to broadcast 4K programming over satellite in 2014 — in time for the soccer World Cup, Reuters said. Earlier this year, it reported, a Japanese telecom said that it was carrying out tests to try to prove that 4K-resolution video could be streamed over the Internet to television STBs.