TOKYO Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp is expected to shift all production of its mobile phone handsets abroad as early as this summer as it looks to re-enter overseas markets this fiscal year, the Nikkei daily said on Sunday.
Panasonic, which is to post a record loss of 780 billion yen ($9.7 billion) for the business year ended on Saturday, still makes about half of its handsets in Japan and will become the first Japanese maker to produce all of its handsets abroad.
The production shake-up comes after the struggling company named the head of its loss-making TV business, Kazuhiro Tsuga, 55, as its new president in February.
Panasonic sold around 5 million handsets in the just-ended fiscal term, making it the No. 3 domestic manufacturer behind Sharp Corp and Fujitsu Ltd, Nikkei said.
The newspaper said the production from the Shizuoka factory - which accounts for nearly half of the firm's output - will be moved to Beijing and Malaysia and some will be outsourced to overseas manufacturers.
Production of certain domestic models may remain in Japan, it said.
Panasonic pulled out of overseas markets in 2005 but it plans to re-enter them in April, introducing smartphones in Europe, said the newspaper, adding it hopes to triple its unit sales to 15 million by fiscal 2015/16, with 9 million coming from abroad.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Ed Lane)