Hitachi, after Matsushita Japan's second largest plasma flat-panel TV maker, announced Tuesday plans to quintuple worldwide production over the next two years. To meet this goal it will up its advertising budget by 300%.

Flat-panel TV production has plunged Hitachi deeply into the red, prompting the resignation of president Etsuhiko Shoyama in favour of an undisclosed younger gun - who may (or may not) be Makoto Ebata, vice president and head of the platform group.

Production capacity of the panels will increase threefold to 300,000 a month, with the start of a third production line between 2007 and 2008. The aim is to generate revenues of ¥1,500 billion ($12.81bn; €10.82bn; £7.31bn) from digital products, of which PDP TVs would comprise slightly less than half.

Says Ebata: "We believe we will not lose to anyone, in terms of costs, because of our technology and development capability."

Analysts, as ever, are cynical. One, who prefers not to be named, told the Financial Times: "Fujitsu Hitachi PDP [its manufacturing plant] will lose ¥41bn this year. The plan to turn the TV business profitable by the end of 2006 is not achievable if they include FHP," opined the anonymous critic..

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff