Sharp to Split Off Display Unit and Target Micro LEDs
Sharp is planning to split off its display business as of October 1. Sharp Display Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary will be based in Kameyama where Sharp operates a Gen 8 fab. After purchasing Japan Display’s Hakusan fab last month, Sharp is expected to move some equipment from Kameyama to Hakusan for MicroLED development and will change the focus of the Kameyama fab to the production of automotive and medical displays.
Apple encouraged Sharp to make the JDI fab purchase, which could indicate Apple would be part of Sharp’s micro-LED development, although Sharp’s stated reasoning for the business split is to help secure funding for the development of micro-LED, likely meaning separating it from the highly competitive LCD display business. With ~30% of Sharp’s sales from the display business and years of losses, it puts into question Sharp’s longer-term plans for its display business. While we expect little real change over the next year or so, any progress on the micro-LED front could indicate an increasing relationship with Apple and a focus away from traditional LCD display production.