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Panasonic to lift China plasma plant capacity: report

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp will expand the capacity of its plasma display panel plant in China by nearly five times by the financial year to March 2013 in a bid to meet strong demand in the country, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Friday.

Panasonic will achieve a 42-inch panel production capacity of over 120,000 units a month, up from 25,000 units now, at its Shanghai plant, which currently cannot meet demand in the growing Chinese market, the newspaper said.

The Osaka-based firm is currently exporting from a facility in Japan to compensate for the local supply shortage and aims to cut the cost of products by an estimated 30 percent by replacing these exports with the expanded local production, the Yomiuri said.

A Panasonic spokesman said the company would announce plans for its China and Japan plants at the "proper time."

Shares of Panasonic fell 1.9 percent to 1,073 yen in early trade on Friday, underperforming the Nikkei stock average which shed 1.6 percent.

(Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani; Editing by Joseph Radford)