Japanese Competitiveness in Liquid Crystal Display Industry - Analysis of Causes of its Decline, and Proposal of "Core National Management"

Author Name NAKATA Yukihiko  (Graduate School of Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University)
Creation Date/NO. April 2007 07-J-017
Download / Links


The liquid crystal display (LCD) is an original technology that was essentially researched and developed by Japan. Therefore, Japan took the leadership and created and nurtured the LCD industry. However, South Korea and Taiwan also entered the market and in recent years both have overtaken Japan. But why has the decline of Japanese competitiveness happened?

There has been a decline in competitiveness not only in the LCD industry but also in semiconductors and many other industries. In order to clarify the causes of the decline, I analyze it from the viewpoint of architecture and knowledge management.

The LCD industry uses larger glass substrates than other companies in order to produce larger LCD panels than other companies, and so it does not have the standardized sizes of the glass substrate and the standardized equipments, and has "integral architecture." In consequence, based on the case study of Sharp's Kameyama plant, it could be concluded that the origin of Japan's competitiveness arises from the "integration of tacit knowledge" in a closed innovation network.

On the other hand, the products driving the LCD industry have in recent years changed from personal computers to LCD televisions. Sony, which does not have its own displays, has established a joint venture company with South Korea's Samsung Electronics, and conducts metanational management. In contrast, Sharp has a very large share of the Japanese LCD-TV market, but a small share globally. Then, Sharp bases the core of producing LCD panels in Japan, endeavors to maximize its enterprise value by assembling LCD televisions at five worldwide bases, and also by promoting OEM production of LCD panels.

In this research, for strengthening Japan's competitiveness I propose "core national management." This includes three processes of integrating, which creates core knowledge locally through the integration of tacit knowledge; maximizing, which maximizes enterprise value on that basis; and allocating, which optimizes deployment of resources globally.