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Sharp Expands in China
Jan 6, 2005
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Sharp Corporation announced that its 45-in liquid crystal display (LCD) television would debut in the Chinese market, as well as the European market, after the country's Spring Festival.

More surprisingly, the company disclosed that it would stop production of all traditional color TVs and put every effort into LCD TVs.

"The company will only sell LCD TVs, as well as large-screen TVs, in Japan before the year end of 2005," said a manager from Nanjing-Sharp Electronic Corp., Ltd., a joint venture set up by Sharp and Nanjing Panda Electronic Corp., Ltd.

Statistics from Sino Marketing Research Company show that sales of LCD TVs in China from January to July 2004 amounted to 83,000 units, valued at CNY 830 million (approx. U.S. $100.4 million), rising 287 percent and 341 percent year on year, respectively.

In the following 3 years, China's market demand for LCD TVs will grow at 300 percent yearly, and LCD TV sales in the country in 2008 will possibly top 5 million sets, analysts predicted.

The large potential market presents Sharp a great opportunity. Sharp estimated that Nanjing Sharp's annual output will grow at 50 percent and that the company will become a leader in China's LCD TV industry before 2008.

However, slimmer profits can be seen with increasingly fierce competition in the small-screen LCD TV market. Since the second half of 2004, many Chinese leading home appliance makers such as Konka, TCL, Sichuan Changhong, Skyworth, and Shanghai General Electronic Digital Technology Co., Ltd., have stepped up expansion in the LCD TV market.

Meanwhile, lots of foreign home appliance giants, such as Sharp, Sony, Matsushita Electric, Sanyo, LG, and Samsung, and many IT magnates, including TPV Technology, Motorola, HP, Lenovo, and Dell, have also moved into China's LCD TV market.

"Sharp's major rivals are from Japan and South Korea," an official from Sharp's representative office in Beijing said.

The official also disclosed that the company was impacted most by the joint venture of Sony and Samsung, which has a monthly capacity of 60,000 LCD displays. The joint venture between LG and Philips, the largest LCD production base worldwide, has also had an affect.

An official from Sharp disclosed that the company expects to set up a wholly owned sales company in China. Sharp now owns six factories in the country, mainly in Shanghai and Jiangsu. The factories currently all have their own sales departments.

A new, wholly owned sales company will replace all the sales departments in Sharp's factories in China to take charge of marketing all of Sharp products. The official also disclosed that the sales company would be founded in July or August of 2005 in Shanghai. (Forbes.com)

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