TOKYO - Major trading
houses are starting to turn their attention to the most
advanced industries, such as nanotechnology and
biotechnology, as they abandon unprofitable sectors and
seek new sources of profits.
Sumitomo Corp has
licensed from NEC Corp basic patents covering carbon
nanotubes, enabling the trading company to engage in
full-fledged development of related products. It has
also reached a marketing alliance with US firm Carbon
Nanotechnologies Inc, which plans to begin mass
production of single-wall carbon nanotubes in April.
Mitsubishi Corp - one of the first trading
companies to focus on nanotechnology - has designated
product-oriented R&D efforts as a strategic business
segment, placing it under the president's direct
control. The firm has teamed up with Mitsubishi Chemical
Corp to develop a method for mass-producing fullerenes,
a core nanotechnology material. It is also jointly
developing fullerene-based cosmetics material with
Hiroshima Prefectural University.
houses, including Mitsui & Co and Itochu Corp, are
also forming alliances with research institutions and
universities both at home and abroad.
Mar 6, 2004
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