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Several Japanese Electronics Firms Unveil Overseas Ventures - 2002-06-07

Several Japanese electronics companies unveil plans for overseas ventures and the Japanese government releases weak data on corporate spending.

NEC and Matsushita, Japan's leading mobile phone makers, have established a joint venture with China's largest manufacturer of computer networking equipment, Huawei Technologies. The aim is to promote next-generation cell phone use in China, which is now the world's largest mobile phone market.

The joint venture, named Cosmobic Technologies, will license mobile phone services from Matsushita and NEC for other handset manufacturers in China and abroad.

NEC President Koji Nishigaki says it is important for both Matsushita and NEC to develop applications that are adaptable for China.

Hitachi, Japan's biggest electronics maker, and IBM of the United States have allied their hard disk drive operations under a new joint company. Hitachi will pay about $2 billion for IBM's unprofitable hard-drive business and will have a controlling share in the venture.

Some analysts have questioned the move but Hitachi's president says the decision is part of a commitment to achieve a sharp recovery in hard disk operations.

The Japanese Finance Ministry says capital spending, corporate purchases of equipment and real estate, plunged nearly 17 percent in the first three months of this year from a year earlier.

That marks the second consecutive quarterly drop and also the largest tumble since 1998. The weak result is partly due to a continued slowdown in demand for information technology products and the weak Japanese economy.