By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: Toshiba has become the first Japanese maker to outsource production of some of its LCD panels, with a deal to source panels from Taiwan revealed yesterday.

Speaking to, a Toshiba Japan spokesperson confirmed reports in the Nikkei Shimbun that Toshiba had begun outsourcing low-cost model production to the unnamed maker from February this year.

The televisions would be for the US market only at this stage the spokesperson said, with the company deciding on any expansion of the strategy “based on market conditions”.

According to the Nikkei report, which quoted from an interview with company president Atsutoshi Nishida, Toshiba would now focus its production plans on mid-high end televisions.

Nishida also said Toshiba would introduce a new portable video player during 2010.