Japan’s Sharp said Thursday it will remove its name from a key LCD factory, as part of the completion of a major
cash infusion from Foxconn Electronics’ parent company, a symbolic move that reflects the shifting landscape of the
The company said it will next week rename subsidiary Sharp Display Products, which runs one of the world’s most
advanced LCD manufacturing plants, to Sakai Display Products, after the city in central Japan where it is located.
The name change is part of a deal finalized today, in which Hon Hai Precision Industry acquires nearly half of the
factory and a stake of almost 10 percent in Sharp. The deal was first announced in March.
The seemingly minor name change was once unthinkable for a proud Japanese manufacturer like Sharp, which has
long trumpeted the facility as its flagship factory. But Sharp has struggled to boost profits as TV prices fall,
while Hon Hai has become the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, with clients that include Apple,
Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Nintendo.
Sharp’s decision to partner with Taiwan-based Hon Hai has been viewed within the country as a sign of the fading
power of Japan’s manufacturers. The Nikkei, Japan’s main business newspaper, ran a story last month describing
Sharp as “trembling” under the pressure applied by Hon Hai.
Sharp had long courted domestic rival Sony as a partner in the factory, but Sony is jettisoning manufacturing
plants as it battles deep losses, especially in TVs. The companies said in May that Sony would sell its 7 percent
stake in Sharp Display Products, receiving back the original 10 billion yen (US$130 million) investment it first
made in 2009.
The Sakai plant currently makes massive panels best suited for large-screen TVs, though Sharp has said it will
try to focus more on panels for smaller devices like phones and tablets.