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NEC, Casio and Hitachi merge mobile phone operations

Phone giant will reduce costs and share skills

NEC, Casio and Hitachi plan to merge their mobile phone businesses by next April. The merger aims to reduce costs, boost technological expertise and expand market share, the companies said in a joint statement.

The deal will combine Casio Hitachi Mobile Communications Co, a joint venture formed by Casio and Hitachi five years ago, with NEC's mobile phone operations. Casio Hitachi Mobile develops mobile phones such as the Exilim that make use of Casio and Hitachi imaging technology as well as the Boulder, a rugged handset made from shock-resistance and water-resistance technologies from Casio's wristwatch unit.

The new company, NEC Casio Mobile Communications, hopes to bring together a range of product design and wireless technologies to boost competitiveness in the mobile phone market, the companies said.

NEC listed WCDMA (Wideband CDMA) and LTE (Long Term Evolution, also called 4G, or fourth-generation mobile telecommunications) wireless technologies as well as Linux software development and ultra-thin, low power handset designs as key technologies it brings to the new company.

NEC will own 70.74 percent of NEC Casio Mobile when the deal finalizes, while Casio will hold a 20 percent stake and Hitachi will own 9.26 percent of the new company.

NEC Casio Mobile will employ 2,200 people when its headquarters in Kawasaki City, Japan opens. Casio Hitachi Mobile currently has 506 workers.


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