TOKYO: Toshiba, the Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, is buying the hard drive operations of its rival Fujitsu, in what could be the forerunner of the broader consolidation of the country's electronics sector in the wake of the economic downturn.

Exact details of the deal have not been revealed, but analysts predict Toshiba will have paid at least ¥30bn ($426m; €340m; £300m) for the business, which has forecast sales of ¥240bn this year, but is expected to make a loss this year as prices fall.

The Chinese government has also announced it will invest 600 billion yuan ($88bn; €69bn; £62bn) in the electronics sector over the next three years.

Its targets establishing 3G mobile networks, upgrading the country's internet infrastructure, and improving digital television standards.

Funding will also be directed to improving the manufacturing facilities of companies making flat-panel LCD TVs, which are seen as crucial to modernising the broadcast sector, with companies including Changhong, Konka and TCL set to benefit.

Data sourced from Financial Times/Xinhua; additional content by WARC staff