Panasonic Corp (PC.NYSE, 6752.TYO) said it will build a lithium-ion battery plant in Suzhou and increase capacity for such batteries at its existing Beijing factory next year, the Wall Street Journal reported. Production of lithium-ion batteries at subsidiary Sanyo Electric’s plant in Hyogo Prefecture, in western Japan, will move to the new Chinese facilities. Cost has been a major issue for Panasonic, which is currently the world’s biggest supplier for lithium-ion batteries used in consumer electronics. The production plans reflect the Japanese firm’s efforts to compete with Samsung Electronics (005930.KRX, 005935.KRX, SMSN.LSE, SMSD.LSE). It also comes in the aftermath of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and subsequent supply chain disruptions, which are causing some Japanese manufacturers to consider shifting production overseas.