Back in January, we examined Japanese electronics titan Matsushita Electric's (NYSE:MC) efforts to revitalize its battery business. In the market for disposable batteries, the company currently plays third fiddle at best to U.S. battery giants Energizer (NYSE:ENR) and Gillette (NYSE:G). But Matsushita (better known by its "Panasonic" trademark) has developed the Oxyride, a disposable battery that, for a few pennies more, gets you 50% greater lifespan than your ordinary coppertop.

According to a recent article in, Matsushita has since brought its new Oxyride to market in Japan. Since sales began rolling in April, the company has already moved 100 million units of Oxyride batteries. According to Matsushita itself, the company's on track to double that number in 2006, expanding its sales worldwide.

First stop: China. Luckily for Matsushita, everybody's biggest "potential" market sits right next door. Panasonic already has five factories running in China, and while none of them make the Oxyride right now, that could change. The company has targeted a 10% market share in China's dry battery market within two years, which would more than quintuple its current 1.6% share.

How much money are we talking? Well, China consumes approximately 7.5 billion disposable batteries per year. If Matsushita can indeed capture 10% of that market, or 750 million-plus batteries, Oxyride could conceivably boost Matsushita's worldwide sales by a percent or two. If that doesn't sound like much, consider that in its most recent quarter, Matsushita posted sales growth of less than 2%. I don't mean to exaggerate here, but the company appears to be projecting a doubling of its annual sales growth. From fielding a single new product. In a single new market.

Fools would be well advised to take these numbers with a grain of salt, however. If Matsushita really expects to sell 200 million Oxyrides worldwide in 2006, and to claim a 10% share of the Chinese market equaling 750 million Oxyrides in Chinaalone just one year later . well, at the risk of understatement, it could well prove that Matsushita's reach exceeds its grasp.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any of the companies mentioned in this article.