Sharp Seeks Government Support for Japan Alliance to Compete in OLED Industry
December 11, 2017
“We should create a Japan alliance” in OLED panels, Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu told reporters at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), after Sharp’s shares returned to the bourse’s first section after a year’s absence. Sharp and JDI have lost the smartphone panel market to Samsung, as Apple Inc. adopted OLED screens for its new iPhone X. Sharp and Japan Display, both Apple suppliers, plan to start OLED panel production next year or later. “Do we want OLED technology in Japan or not? I’d like to speak with the industry ministry and INCJ (the Innovation Network Corp of Japan) on the matter,” Tai said. State-backed INCJ owns 36 percent of Japan Display, which was formed by combining the ailing display units of Sony Corp, Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. Tai also said he would contact the government for potential investment in JOLED, a Japan Display affiliate, which sold its inaugural batch of OLED screens to Sony. JOLED, which implemented an ink jet printing process process for OLED panels, is seeking to raise 100 billion yen ($888 million) in investment from materials, equipment and electronics makers to expand production capacity. Japan Display and INCJ declined to comment. JOLED declined to provide immediate comment. Tai, former vice chairman of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn) became head of Sharp last year after Foxconn took control of a Japanese firm hit by price competition and falling sales in LCD panels. Tai has said he would step down once Sharp turns profitable at the net level and its shares return to the TSE’s first section. Sharp forecasts net profit of 69 billion yen for the year through March, which would be its first annual profit in four years following cost cutting under Foxconn. Its shares returned to the TSE’s first section on Thursday for the first time since August last year, when they fell to the second section after Sharp booked negative net assets. When asked about his future, Tai on Thursday said he wants Sharp’s board to select a co-chief executive next year to whom he could transfer some of his responsibilities.