Sharp to move home appliance manufacturing to Hon Hai bases: report

Tokyo, Japan-based electronics giant Sharp Corp. is planning to relocate its home appliance production to the global bases of its majority stakeholder, Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., a Japanese newspaper reported Friday.

In a front page story, Nikkei said Sharp will downsize its home appliance manufacturing in Japan and move those operations to Hon Hai's plants in China and Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand.

Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu (???), a former Hon Hai executive, was cited in the report as saying that Sharp will focus on the production of higher value-added electronics components, including flat panels.

He said the Japanese firm will also concentrate more on research and development of new technologies related to the Internet of Things.

The report said Sharp will suspend its LCD TV production in Yaita in Tochigi Prefecture later this year, and Hon Hai's plants outside Japan will take over.

The plant in Tochigi has been one of Sharp's major TV production sites since it opened in 1968 with the manufacture of cathode ray tubes, Nikkei said.

Sharp is now poised to move all its other TV production operations, except its Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture, to Hon Hai factories, according to the report.

After the relocation of the manufacturing plants, Sharp will move its R&D resources at Yaita to Chiba and its headquarters in Osaka, leaving the Yaita site to provide logistics services only, the newspaper said.

The 662 employees at the Yaita plant will be assigned to other jobs within the company, the report said, citing data valid as of March.

In addition, Sharp will move its refrigerator production operations in Yao in Osaka to Hon Hai's global sites, the newspaper said, adding that the factory currently produces 200,000 to 300,000 refrigerators a year and has a workforce of 1,602.

After the relocation, the Yao factory will house an R&D division and a production line for lighting devices, the report said.

In August 2016, Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn in the global market, acquired a 66 percent stake in Sharp, becoming the first Taiwanese firm to hold a majority stake in a prominent Japanese company.

After years of heavy losses, Sharp turned to profit in the year ending March 2018. In the second quarter of this year, it posted an operating profit of 24.8 billion Japanese yen (US$221 million), compared with 17.11 billion yen a year earlier.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel