ITOCHU Announces Collaboration Over Domestic and Overseas Development with E Ink, the Major Electronic Paper Manufacturer

November 22, 2021

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has reached an agreement with E Ink Holdings (headquartered in Hsinchu Taiwan; Johnson Lee, CEO; hereinafter, “E Ink”), the largest electronic paper*1 manufacturer in the world, on a collaboration for the domestic and overseas development of the product groups using electronic paper.

In association with the ubiquitization of e-book devices and the increased number of people teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronic paper-related market has been rapidly expanding. It is expected that by 2025, the size of the worldwide electronic paper market will reach approximately 1.5 trillion yen*2, growing 20% every year from its level in 2020, when it is approximately 500 billion yen and there are approximately 400 million electronic price tags and 130 million electronic book devices already in use. Moreover, as electronic paper consumes an extremely low amount of energy and has the function to replace paper, it contributes to an up to 2.37 million-ton reduction of CO2 emissions, attracting attention from the perspective of the SDGs.

E Ink is the largest manufacturer in the electronic paper industry developing and providing electronic paper using Electrophoretic Ink technology.*3 Displays using the E Ink's electronic paper technology has the same principle as conventional paper which make it easier on people’s eyes compared to LCD which has back lights. They also have memory that makes it possible to continue displaying information on the screen without consuming electricity. The technology has been adopted in a wide range of fields including e-books and electronic price tags made by major manufacturers, and also electronic notebooks, signage and logistics tags.

ITOCHU is determined to further expand and develop electronic paper-related products including electronic signage, electronic price tags and electronic logistics tags, by leveraging the world-leading electronic paper technology that E Ink boasts, and the domestic and international networks of ITOCHU and the ITOCHU Group in this collaboration. Moreover, ITOCHU will also focus on demands for system linkages that are peripheral to electronic paper and construct a usage environment that meets the needs of domestic and international customers to support their digital transformation through collaboration with DX-related group companies, etc.

ITOCHU’s targets laid out in the basic policy of its medium-term management plan are "Realizing business transformation by shifting to a market-oriented perspective," and "Enhancing its contribution to and engagement with the SDGs through business activities, " and this effort is in line with these policies. ITOCHU in collaboration with E Ink will work to ubiquitize electronic paper, expand the services provided from the customers' perspective and contribute to development of a sustainable society.

  • *1Electronic paper is a medium capable of displaying information stored electronically while maintaining the advantages of paper, such as visibility and portability.
    Unlike LED displays, electronic paper does not consume power when used as a static display, which achieves ultra-low power consumption.
  • *2Based on data collected by ITOCHU.
  • *3A technology that displays different colors using positively or negatively charging colored particles (pigments) inside transparent microcapsules using an external electric field.

Tablet-type electronic paper device