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OSAKA (Kyodo) Sanyo Electric Co. will outsource all of its domestic refrigerator production to top Chinese refrigerator maker Haier Group Co. to improve its least profitable business section by cutting manufacturing costs, sources said Thursday.

The struggling Japanese electronics maker will market the Haier-made refrigerators under its brand name.

Sanyo produces large and high-end refrigerators at its factory in Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture, and small and midsize ones at its overseas units, including in Thailand.

It will gradually transfer production of large refrigerators from Oizumi to Haier, while setting up by next spring a joint research and development venture with Haier for the refrigerator business, the sources said.

It will also consider shifting the production of small to midsize refrigerators to Haier in the future. The two makers have been mutually selling each other’s products through their sales networks since they formed a comprehensive tieup in 2002.

But the partnership has not worked as effectively as expected, the sources said, adding the two thus aim to beef it up by extending their development and production ties.

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