TOKYO (AP) -- Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. plans to build a new 100 billion yen ($950 million) lithium-ion battery plant in western Japan, the Japanese maker of Panasonic electronics products said Wednesday.
Matsushita's battery subsidiary has scheduled production for 2010 at the plant in Osaka, where Matsushita is based.
Matsushita already has two nearby battery plants but the new plant will become the main site, with annual production capacity of 600 million batteries. The company said it needs to beef up its production of rechargeable batteries in Japan.
The new plant is expected to boost Matsushita's ability to compete with market leaders Sanyo Electric Co. and Sony Corp. amid growing demand for the rechargeable power sources commonly used in mobile phones, laptop PCs and digital cameras.
Matsushita said demand for rechargeable batteries is growing because of ecological concerns around the world. Demand is expected to continue to expand in the established markets of the U.S., Europe and Japan, and in new markets, including China and Brazil, Matsushita said.