OSAKA, Japan-Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., maker of Panasonic-brand electronics is building the world's largest plasma display panel (PDP) plant in Amagasaki, Japan.

At a cost of $1.6 billion, the plant will have a production capacity of 6 million panels per year, giving Panasonic the largest PDP production capacity in the world. The new plant will be Panasonic's fifth PDP manufacturing facility.

Construction will begin in May 2006, with production scheduled to begin in July 2007. When the plant reaches full capacity in 2009, Panasonic's total PDP output will be approximately 11.1 million panels per year.

"The new plant will employ state-of-the-art process technologies and production systems that are more advanced than those of the third plant in Amagasaki, which began production in September 2005," says Ken Morita, president of Matsushita PDP Co., the subsidiary in charge of the effort. "The new systems and technologies will bring greater mass production efficiencies to the whole process while ensuring higher quality....As a result, MPDP will be able to supply PDPs with more speed and flexibility to meet the surging world demand."

According to Morita, Panasonic believe the global PDP market will grow to 25 million panels per year by 2010. The company is aiming for a worldwide 40 percent market share.