Last year, NEC, Casio Computer and Hitachi unveiled plans to merge their handset making units into a new company called NEC CASIO Mobile Communications. The joint venture was set to launch in April 2010, but that date will be missed as competition authorities required additional documentation. The review process will not be completed within March 2010, moving the launch date for a month.
At merger, the shareholders will be NEC (66%), Casio (17.34%) and Hitachi (16.66%), but a capital injection by NEC and Casio into the new company will change the shareholding structure to 70.74% for NEC and 20% for Casio, leaving 9.26% for Hitachi. The board of directors will be made up solely of NEC and Casio representatives.
At the moment, NEC makes phones for two of the leading Japanese operators – NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank Mobile, whereas Casio and Hitachi make devices for Japan’s KDDI and SoftBank, as well as Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and LG Telecom in South Korea.
All three companies have smart engineers on board and I wonder whether they will be able to penetrate the worldwide market with some fancy smartphones. Just exporting some of their Japan-only handsets could do the job, but high-end users (i.e. influencers) are all about Android these days, and I’m looking forward to see whether they could come up with a cool product on that front. Keeping our fingers crossed can’t harm…