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Sony to boost output of lithium-ion batteries

Sony Corp. will invest about 40 billion yen ($372 million) to boost its output capacity of lithium-ion batteries amid growing global demand, the company said Monday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sony Corp. will invest about 40 billion yen ($372 million) to boost its output capacity of lithium-ion batteries amid growing global demand, the company said Monday.

On top of plans to increase production in Singapore and China, the Japanese consumer electronics company said it will build new facilities and enhance existing lines in Japan, hoping to expand output capacity to 74 million cells per month in 2010 from the current 41 million cells.

"This is the first phase of investment in lithium ion batteries Sony is undertaking as part of efforts to reinforce core areas of its component and semiconductor business over the next three years," the company said in a statement.

Sony's latest move highlights the intensifying competition for dominance in the booming market for the rechargeable power sources commonly used in mobile phones, laptop PCs and digital cameras.

Rival Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., the Japanese maker of Panasonic products, last week announced plans to build a new 100 billion yen ($930 million) lithium-ion battery plant in western Japan.

Demand is expected to continue to expand in established markets such as the U.S., Europe and Japan, and in new markets, including China and Brazil, Matsushita said.