Smartphone screen maker Japan Display cutting 30% of workforce

Tokyo (AFP) –


Japan Display said Wednesday it would slash 3,700 jobs, or about 30 percent of its workforce, as the struggling smartphone screen maker warned it lost money again in the latest quarter.

Citing intense competition, the Tokyo-based company said it would cut 3,500 positions at overseas assembly plants and another 240 jobs from its payroll in Japan.

The job cuts, which represent nearly 30 percent of the 13,100-strong workforce, are expected to save 50 billion yen ($455 million) annually, it said.

Japan Display, born out of the 2012 merger of the liquid crystal display divisions of Hitachi, Toshiba and Sony, has been lagging behind its foreign rivals as the industry shifts to new technologies.

"In this environment, JDI has surplus production capacity that represents a significant burden on the company's manufacturing fixed costs," it said in a statement.

"Therefore, JDI has determined that it must overhaul its manufacturing system to bring it in line with a changing market and reduce the level of fixed costs."

Wednesday's jobs announcement came as the firm logged a net loss of 31.5 billion yen in the April-June period, nearly three times higher than its shortfall in the same quarter a year earlier.

The group, which has been losing money for years, also expects to book a full-year operating loss due to heavier development costs to cope with growing demand for light-emitting OLED displays.

The company was slow to enter the market for OLED screens, which are more flexible than LCD screens and boast a sharper image.

They are increasingly becoming the preferred choice in high-end smartphones and Apple is rumoured to be planning a switch to OLED technology for its new iPhone, which is being launched this year.

Japan Display, which has factories in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, supplies screens to Apple and China's Huawei.

Public-private Innovation Network Corp of Japan is its top shareholder with a stake of more than one-third.