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Japanese audio giant in dilemma, pioneer seeks help from other companies

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[Global Network Reporter Wang Huan] According to a report by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun on August 10, Pioneer, a well-known and well-established audio equipment company in Japan, began to discuss the request for support, capital and Business Cooperation. In recent years, Pioneer has successively withdrawn its main businesses such as plasma TVs and audio equipment, and has been concentrating its operating resources on in-vehicle equipment businesses such as car navigation systems. However, due to the popularity of smartphones, it has become difficult to make money easily.

With the popularization of global positioning system (GPS) -enabled smartphones, with young people as the center, more and more consumers believe that "smartphone navigation software is sufficient" as a "commercially available" that needs to be additionally installed in cars Products ", the demand for car navigation systems is rapidly decreasing.

Among car navigation system companies, Pioneer once occupied an advantage in commercially available products, and the transition to "OEM (OEM) products" embedded by car manufacturers in the production stage was slow.

At the same time, the field of OEM products is not optimistic. In the April-June 2018 financial report, Pioneer President Koichi Mori stated that "operating losses have increased due to increased depreciation fees for the OEM product business," which explains the difficult situation. In addition, development costs may increase in the future. This is because car manufacturers are accelerating the development of new-generation vehicles with autonomous driving and networking functions, and the car navigation system function also needs to leap forward.

Other companies in the field of car navigation also face difficult conditions. Clarion has restructured its development and business structure as a result of deteriorating performance, and has reduced the number of employees. Fujitsu sells its car navigation unit to Denso. Alpine strives to integrate its business with parent company Alps Electric.

Pioneers who are now forced to discuss receiving external support were once one of the electronics giants and loved by many consumers.

Pioneer's business can be traced back to 1938, developed high-quality speakers rare in Japan at that time, and established the predecessor "Evangelical Chamber of Commerce Motor Manufacturing". The company's laser discs (LD), which record high-quality video and sound, swept karaoke booths. The world's first high-definition large plasma TV also gained an overwhelming Japanese and domestic share.

However, karaoke-oriented laser discs have slowed down due to the rise of communication-type video. Plasma TVs were also eliminated due to LCD TVs. With the advent of portable music players, home audio has reduced the sense of presence.

In this case, Pioneer's move is to focus on in-vehicle equipment. The company withdrew its continuously losing plasma TV business in 2010 and sold its home audio-visual equipment business in 2015. The total number of employees has been reduced to about half, and consolidated sales, which had reached 800 billion yen, have also halved in the last 10 years. Vanguard continues to be in a loss situation and has not paid dividends since fiscal 2008 (as of March 2009). The 2018 fiscal year will undoubtedly also show losses.

Pioneer's top priority is to boost car navigation system for car manufacturers, which is burdensome for development costs. We will strive to obtain development funds by cooperating with other companies and receiving support, and start again.

In addition, Pioneer will advance the development of the sensor "LiDAR" and high-precision maps that will become the "eyes" of autonomous vehicles. The second generation of LiDAR is planned to be launched in autumn 2018. In the field of maps, Pioneer and the European digital map provider Here and other three companies have established the "OneMap Alliance" that provides autonomous driving map services.

The commercialization of these new technologies requires huge development funds. In advancing its growth strategy, Vanguard first strives to improve its financial position.

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