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, in part because of the powerful role of Japanese operators, which have prescribed the specs for new phones and provided generous subsidies.
However, an end to subsidies has seen domestic device sales fall 40% over the past two years, 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.