Japan MiniDisc, DVD Video Sales Strong in 1999

TOKYO (01/31/2000) - MiniDisc and DVD Video players were among the fastest growing sectors of Japan's consumer electronics industry in 1999, according to a report issued today by the Electronics Industry Association of Japan (EIAJ).

The EIAJ's monthly survey, in which it collects manufacturing data from Japan's largest electronics makers, is an important indication of the health of the domestic electronics industry and marketplace.

Production of MiniDisc players totaled 2.95 million units in 1999, up 141.6 percent on the previous year. The growing success of MiniDisc, which is now beginning to replace the conventional audio cassette in Japan, can also be seen in other products featuring the system. Production of conventional music systems rose 13.1 percent to 2.96 million units while those featuring MiniDisc decks accounted for 2.28 million of the total, up 43.7 percent on the year.

The figures also provided some good news for backers of DVD Video, which have seen sluggish acceptance of the format since it was launched. Player production rose 62.2 percent to 388,000 units in the year, reported the EIAJ.

Production of car navigation systems, which rely on global positioning system (GPS) satellites to show drivers their position on a digital map, also saw healthy growth -- up 23.3 percent to 1.32 million units.

The news wasn't so good for Japan's digital satellite television programmers.

While subscriptions are beginning to pick-up, production of receivers in 1999 was virtually unchanged on 1998 at 716,000 units indicating slow growth for the systems.

Production of color televisions, the largest single sector of the domestic consumer electronics industry, fell 0.6 percent to 9.60 million units while that of video cassette recorders fell 4.5 percent to 6.83 million units.

The EIAJ, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.eiaj.or.jp/.

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