Japan Display, a joint venture that makes screens for the iPhone, gears up for $4B IPO

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A last-ditch attempt to revitalize Japan’s ailing display market seems to be paying off.

Japan Display, a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi’s former display units, is planning to raise up to $4 billion in a public offering this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The company is a Frankenstein’s monster of display talent made up of the display assets from the aforementioned Japanese companies, each of which were struggling to stay afloat on their own. In 2011, they joined forces with $2 billion from a Japanese government-backed fund to create Japan Display. Its main enemy: The fast-growing South Korean display market, driven by Samsung and LG.

Japan Display makes the screens for the iPhone 5S and 5C as well as other leading gadgets. According to the research firm NPD, it held 17 percent of the global market for smart and midsized displays. Japan Display made just under $5 billion in revenue for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year (ending in December), 32 percent of which was from orders for Apple devices, the company said.

As the WSJ notes Japan Display’s main strength has been in high-resolution displays for smartphones and tablets. While its Korean rivals have taken over the big-screen TV market, it turns out the demand for high-resolution portable gadgets was enough to help the company thrive.

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