Japanese tech giants Fujitsu and Toshiba have begun negotiations on merging their mobile phone businesses, creating what would be Japan’s second-largest handset vendor.
The merger, if it goes ahead, would leave Japan with five handset makers, down from ten in 2007. FT.com reports.
Rivals Casio, Hitachi and NEC combined their assets into a single handset business last September, currently the third largest behind Sharp and Panasonic.
Japanese handset firms have pioneered new tech, such as LCD screens and flip phones, but have failed to expand outside their home market.
This is partly because of the powerful role of Japanese operators, who have prescribed the specs for new phones and provided generous subsidies.
The spate of mergers follows a 40% in domestic sales over the past two years after operators ended their subsidies, FT reported.
The merged business would be majority-owned by Fujitsu, which has roughly 15% of the Japanese market, three times that of Toshiba, FT said.