OSAKA — Sharp Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. said separately Wednesday they will boost production of liquid crystal displays to meet a fresh surge in demand.

Sharp Corp. will build a new plant in Mie Prefecture this summer to produce small, next-generation liquid crystal displays, company officials said.

The new plant, which will start operating in fall 2003, will be located near the company’s Mie plant, where large liquid crystal panels are currently produced, they said.

The next-generation LCDs will be thinner and lighter than current models and be used in electronic devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants, the officials said.

Sharp will start producing the new LCDs this fall at its plant in Nara Prefecture. It has decided, however, to build another plant to bolster its production capacity to meet rising demand for the small LCDs, they said.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily reported Wednesday that Sharp will invest about 50 billion yen in the new plant.

In a related development, Sanyo said it will spend around 27 billion yen to set up an additional production line for large LCDs at a factory operated by its manufacturing subsidiary in Tottori Prefecture.

Sanyo aims to double its output of large LCDs to 1,800 a day during the fiscal 2003, company officials said.

The investments will focus on value-added products in an attempt to counter South Korean and Taiwanese rivals, and come as the LCD market is showing signs of bottoming out.

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