Sharp is set to move its advanced small-to-medium LCD panel technology to a Foxconn plant which is currently being built in China’s Sichuan province. That effectively means that all of Sharp’s top technology for making displays for phones and tablets will be moved from Japan to this new Chinese factory.
This is another step in the ongoing partnership between Sharp and Foxconn (the Hon Hai Group), which was unveiled back in March. It was then when Foxconn took a stake in both Sharp and a big LCD panel factory established as a joint-venture between Sharp and Sony in Japan (Sony has since exited that venture completely).
Two months ago we told you that mobile display panels were becoming increasingly more important to Foxconn, which is the world’s biggest electronics manufacturer. The partnership established back then helped Sharp, one of Foxconn’s most important suppliers, stay alive.
The small-to-medium LCD technology transfer to China, however, is apparently all about the ambitions of Foxconn founder Terry Gou to surpass Samsung Electronics of South Korea in “technology prowess”, according to EE Times Asia.
Samsung is currently the world’s biggest display maker for tablets and phones, and its continued growth in the space has not only prompted Foxconn’s deal with Sharp, but also the establishment of Japan Display, Inc. – a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi, which was unveiled at the beginning of April. Apparently, Sharp was repeatedly invited into Japan Display, but the company ultimately decided that its partnership with Foxconn would be a better choice. Hopefully it was right – its future is at stake. And, in no small regard, the future of competition in the mobile display space, in which Sharp is currently No.2.
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