CHIBA, JAPAN - Major Japanese chemical firms are increasing production of materials for the electronics industry as a result of increased demand for personal computers and other high-tech electronic products. Much of this expansion is directed toward growing Asian markets that are attractive to Japanese firms because of the high yen. Mitsui Toatsu Chemicals Inc., expecting higher demand for recordable compact discs, will boost production of the discs at its Chiba facility from 300,000 a month to 700,000. The agreement on a standard format for the next-generation digital video disc is likely to increase use of optical disc media dramatically.
In Malaysia, Toray Industries Inc. of Tokyo plans to produce Lumirror polyester film to meet expanding demand for electronic products in Southeast Asia and China. Toray will begin with two lines producing 52.9 million pounds of polyester film a year. Eventually the plant in Penang, Malaysia, will turn out 79.4 million pounds of film annually. Total investment is expected to be 30 billion yen (US$300 million).
Polyester film is used widely for electrical insulation, thermal transfer film and magnetically encoded prepaid cards, used in Asia for rail fares and pay telephones. About 2 billion pounds of polyester film is produced annually and about one-fifth is directed to Asian markets.
Toray, the world's largest producer, has a capacity of 2.5 billion pounds in Japan. Toray Plastics America produces another 52.9 million pounds.