Sharp Corporation

For other uses, see Sharp.
Sharp Corporation
Native name
Public subsidiary
Traded as TYO: 6753
Osaka SE: 6753
Nagoya SE: 6753
Industry Consumer electronics
Founded September 15, 1912 (1912-09-15)
Tokyo, Japan[1]
Founder Tokuji Hayakawa[1]
Headquarters Sakai-ku, Sakai, Japan
Area served
Japan, Worldwide Global
Key people
Jeng-wu Tai[2]
Products Televisions, audiovisual, home appliances, information equipments, ICs, solar cells, mobile phones, fax machines, electronic components, calculators, LCD panels
Revenue Increase ¥2.927 trillion (2014)
US$28.7 billion[* 1]
Increase ¥108.6 billion (2014)
US$1.06 billion[* 1]
Increase ¥11.5 billion (2014)
US$0.11 billion[* 1]
Total assets Increase ¥2.182 trillion (2014)
US$21.39 billion[* 1]
Total equity Increase ¥207.2 billion (2013)
US$2.03 billion[* 1]
Number of employees
50,253 (2014)[* 1]
Parent Foxconn (2016-)

Sharp Corporation (シャープ株式会社 Shāpu Kabushiki-gaisha) is a Japanese multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic products, headquartered in Sakai-ku, Sakai. Since 2016 it has been an integral part of Taiwan-based Foxconn Group. Sharp employs more than 50,000 people worldwide. The company was founded in September 1912 in Tokyo and takes its name from one of its founder’s first inventions, the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil, which was invented by Tokuji Hayakawa in 1915.

As of 2013, Sharp Corporation is the tenth-largest, by market share, television manufacturer in the world.[3] In Japan it has been a long-time leader.[4] Sharp has at times also been the most popular mobile phone brand in the Japanese market, but is currently third biggest.[5][6]


Sharp portable TV
Sharp MD-MS701H

In 1912, Tokuji Hayakawa founded a metal workshop in Tokyo. The first of his many inventions was a snap buckle named ‘Tokubijo’. Another of his inventions was the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil in 1915, from which the Sharp Corporation derived its name.[7] After the pencil business was destroyed by the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the company relocated to Osaka and began designing the first generation of Japanese radio sets. These went on sale in 1925. In 1953, Sharp started producing TV sets.

In 1964, Sharp developed the world’s first transistor calculator, which was priced at JP¥535,000 (US$1,400). It took Sharp several years to develop the product as they had no experience in making computing devices at the time. Two years later, in 1966, Sharp introduced its first IC calculator using 145 Mitsubishi-made bipolar ICs, priced at JP¥350,000 (about US$1000). Its first LSI calculator was introduced in 1969. This was the first pocketable calculator priced at less than JP¥100,000 (less than US$300), and turned out to be a popular item.[8]

The company produced the first LCD calculator in 1973. Sharp had a working relationship with Nintendo during the 1980s, and was granted licensing rights for the manufacture and development of the C1 NES TV (1983, later released in North America as the Sharp Nintendo Television), the Twin Famicom (1986), the Sharp Famicom Titler (1989), and the SF-1 SNES TV (1990). All of these units are considered collectors items on the secondary market. One of the company’s main inventors of LCD calculators was Tadashi Sasaki.[9]

Sharp’s Mobile Communications Division created the world’s first commercial camera phone, the J-SH04, in Japan in 2000.

Since 2000, Sharp has heavily invested in LCD panel manufacturing plants: Kameyama in 2004, Sakai in 2009. The Sakai plant is still the only 10th generation LCD manufacturing plant on the globe and best fit for production of 60 inch or larger panels. However, the 2008 financial crisis and strong Yen (especially against Won) significantly lowered world demand for Japanese LCD panels. Furthermore, the switch to digital TV broadcasting was virtually completed in Japan by the middle of 2011. Via Japanese government issued coupons for digital TV sets, consumers were encouraged to purchase digital TV sets until March 2011. This hit the Japanese LCD TV market, reducing it almost by half from 2010. All of those events strongly hit Sharp's LCD business. As the result, the Sakai LCD plant suffered a reduced operating rate until Q3 2012.

In June 2005 Sharp produced the largest LCD television at the time, with a display of 65 inches. It went on sale in August 2005 in Japan.[10]

From 2005 to 2010 Sharp was the biggest mobile phone brand in Japan. Since then it has been constantly switching places through financial quarters against rivals Fujitsu, Apple and Sony.

Sharp acquired a controlling stake in Pioneer Corporation in 2007.

At CES 2007, Sharp introduced a prototype largest LCD TV, with a screen size of 108 inches.[11] In July 2008 Sharp announced that the model will go into production for the Japanese market.[12]

In 2008, Sharp collaborated with Emblaze Mobile on the Monolith, “…an ambitious project to design the ultimate holistic mobile device”.[13] The project was never brought to market. Key software developers were later picked up by other companies.

On 25 June 2009, Sharp and Pioneer agreed to form a joint venture comprising their optical businesses, called “Pioneer Digital Design and Manufacturing Corporation”.[14]

In 2012 Sharp unveiled the largest production TV at the time, with a screen size of 80 inches. It is part of the Aquos range and went on sale in Japan at around JP¥950,000.[15]

2012 was the 100th anniversary for Sharp but it announced the worst financial record in its history, with a loss of JP¥376 billion (US$4.7 billion) in April 2012. In September, Sharp announced job cuts.[16] In 2014, Sharp was able to stem losses and deliver a positive net income for its first quarter results.[17]

In March 2012 the Taiwan-based electronics company Hon Hai, trading as Foxconn, agreed to acquire a 10% stake in Sharp Corporation for US$806 million, and to purchase up to 50 percent of the LCD displays produced at Sharp’s plant in Sakai, Japan.[18] In June 2012, Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou paid money for Sakai plant and got 50% ownership of the plant. However, since the announcement in March, Sharp’s share price continued declining and reached JP¥192 on August 3. Sharp deal’s price was originally JP¥550 per share. Both companies agreed to renegotiate the share price, but they never came to an agreement.[19]

Sharp announced it accepted a US$100 million investment from Samsung in March 2013.[20]

In 2013 Sharp developed the most efficient solar cell, converting a record 44.4% of sunlight into electricity.[21]

After years of huge losses in its overseas TV business, Sharp sold its Mexico TV factory to Chinese electronics manufacturer Hisense for $23.7 million in July 2015. The sale includes rights to use the Sharp brand name and all its channel resources in North and South America, except Brazil. This meant that Sharp has exited the TV market in the Americas (except Brazil).[22] It was a sign showing Sharp's rapid decline in that market, where it once was one of the leading manufacturers for LCD TVs a decade earlier.[23] Sharp's television market share in North America was 4.6% in 2015.[24] However Sharp remains the biggest television brand in the Japanese market.[4]

In October 2015 Sharp announced a smartphone that also works as a robot, called RoboHon. It will be sold in 2016 in Japan.[25]

Sharp began selling the world’s first commercially available TV with a 8K resolution in October 2015. The 85-inch LV-85001 model costs JP¥16 million (US$133,000). Japanese public broadcaster NHK will have test broadcasts at 8K starting 2016, with regular services expected by the time of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.[26][27]

On February 25, 2016, Sharp has accepted the JP¥700 billion yen (US$6.24 billion) takeover bid from Foxconn, this acquires over 66 percent of Sharp's voting stock.[28]

On March 30, 2016, Foxconn agreed to buy Sharp for JP¥389 billion yen (US$3.5 billion).[29]


Sharp J-SH07 mobile phone, 2001 (Japanese market).

Core technologies and products include: LCD panels, solar panels, mobile phones, audio-visual entertainment equipment, video projectors, Multi-Function Printing Devices, microwave ovens, air conditioners, cash registers, CMOS and CCD sensors, and flash memory.

The first commercial camera phone was also made by Sharp for the Japanese market in November 2000. Recent products include the ViewCam, the Ultra-Lite notebook PC, the Zaurus personal digital assistant, Sidekick 3, and the AQUOS flat screen television.

Sharp manufactures consumer electronic products, including LCD televisions, sold under the Aquos brand, mobile phones, microwave ovens, Home cinema and audio systems, air purification systems, fax machines and calculators.[30]

For the business market, Sharp also produces projectors and monitors and a variety of photocopiers and Laser Printers, in addition to electronic cash registers and Point of sale technologies.[31]

In the field of multifunction printers (MFD) has won awards from BLI and BERTL, two firms providing competitive intelligence and test reviews in the print industry. SHARP’s MX2600N and MX3100N printers included version 3 of the company’s Open System Architecture (OSA3),which allows third party developers to directly integrate their business applications with the MFD.

Sharp Solar is a supplier of silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar cells,[32][33] and offers a solar TV.[34] In Q1 2010 the company made the highest revenues from production of solar PV systems.[35]


The Sharp factory in Kameyama, Mie, Japan.
The Sharp factory in Taki, Mie, Japan.

Net sales for the year 2003 were $16.8 billion. The Corporation employs 46,600 staff, of which around half live outside Japan. It operates from 64 bases in 30 countries and its products are distributed in 164 countries worldwide. Many of its regional subsidiaries trade under the name “Sharp Electronics”.

Sharp was among the Top 100 R&D Spenders in a list published by the IEEE Spectrum magazine in 2002.

In September 2014, Sharp announced that Slovakian electronics company UMC was acquiring an exclusive brand licence from Sharp and its European television and audio business UMC will also acquire Sharp’s Polish factory. As part of the deal, Sharp will support the design and development of televisions sold by UMC under the Sharp brand[36]

The same month, Sharp also announced a tie-up with Vestel in Europe for white goods. Vestel will sell Sharp-branded white goods (except air conditioners), such as refrigerators and microwave ovens manufactured by Sharp in Thailand and China. Sharp will also license its brand name to Vestel for volume home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and ovens. Sharp’s remaining European business will then focus on the business-to-business sector including multi-function printers and energy solutions.


Sharp's headquarters are at 1 Takumi-chō, Sakai-ku, Sakai, Japan. Until the relocation to Sakai in 2016, the headquarters were in Abeno-ku, Osaka where Hayakawa restarted the business in 1920s.[37]


Antitrust law violations


On November 8, 2008, Department of Justice announced that Sharp agreed to pay US$120 million as criminal fine. According to the announcement, Sharp participated in the conspiracies to fix the price of TFT LCD panel for Dell’s computer monitors and laptops (2001 - 2005), Motorola’s Razr phones (2005 - 2006) and Apple’s iPod (2005 -2006).[38]


On December 18, 2008, Japan Fair Trade Commission ordered Sharp to pay JP¥261 million (US$3 million) as criminal fine. According to the order, Sharp and Hitachi Display participated in the conspiracies to keep the price for TFT LCD panels for Nintendo DS and DS-Lite. Fine for Hitachi Displays was waived by JFTC leniency program.[39]

However, Sharp disagreed with the JFTC order and announced to begin appeal procedure against it on Feb 2, 2009.[40] On July 31, 2013, JFTC dismissed Sharp’s appeal.[41]

Environmental record

Sharp’s booth at CES 2012 in Los Angeles, CA

In November 2011 Sharp was ranked in 11th place by Greenpeace’s re-launched Guide to Greener Electronics that ranks 15 electronics manufacturers according to their policies and practices to reduce their impact on the climate, produce greener products, and make their operations more sustainable. Greenpeace summarizes the corporation’s environmental record thus: “Sharp supports a new renewable energy law in Japan but scores poor on all sustainable operations criteria.”[42]

Sharp scored 3/10 and received most of its points on the Products criteria where the company was praised for the energy efficiency of its products with all of its TVs meeting the latest Energy Star standard. It also gained some points for having a relative long term target to reduce CO2 emissions by two percent (per production unit) compared to the previous year, yet sets out no clear target for absolute reductions. The company was also praised for its public support for a clean energy policy, after advocating the Japanese Government to increase the use of renewable energy.[42]

Sharp scored least points in the guide in the Sustainable Operations category, scoring no points for chemical management due to not communicating commitments made on phasing out hazardous substances in its supply chain. The guide also notes that Sharp have lacked any initiative to address the issue of conflict minerals and the exclusion of paper sourced from suppliers involved in illegal logging or deforestation.[42]


Sharp was the principal sponsor of Manchester United Football Club from 1983 until 2000, in one of the lengthiest and most lucrative sponsorship deals in English football.[43][44] Sharp's logo was on the front of United's shirts over these 17 years, during which the team won seven Premier League titles, five FA Cups, one Football League Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and one UEFA Champions League title.

In June 2012, Sharp became name sponsor of a UCI World Tour cycling team, which thereupon became known as Garmin-Sharp.

Products gallery

See also


  1. 1 2 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "代表取締役の異動並びに執行役員退任に関するお知らせ" (PDF).
  3. Global market share held by LCD TV manufacturers from 2008 to 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  4. 1 2 (C)Copyright 2006 ALLON Inc. "Market Share Ranking in Japan - Japan Business Resources".
  5. "In Japan, Smartphones Surpass Feature Phones among Newly Acquired Devices for First Time Ever". comScore, Inc.
  6. "iPhone accounted for 60% share of the Japanese mobile phone brand harmed Japan".
  7. "Eversharp history". Vintage Pens. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  8. Odagiri, Hiroyuki (1996). Technology and Industrial Development in Japan. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 170. ISBN 0-19-828802-6.
  9. Aspray, William (25 May 1994). "Oral-History: Tadashi Sasaki". Interview #211 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  10. "Sharp to produce World's largest LCD television at 65 inches".
  11. "Sharp showcases World's largest LCD TV - 108 inches".
  12. "Sharp to Introduce World's Largest 108-Inch LCD Monitor for Commercial Applications; Now Accepting Orders - Press Releases:SHARP".
  13. "The Monolith Project". Emblaze Mobile. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  14. "". External link in |title= (help);  (9.44 KB)
  15. "Sharp unveils largest TV on domestic market". The Japan Times.
  16. Atsuko Fukase. "Sharp Considers 10,000 Job Cuts". Wall Street Journal.
  17. "Consolidated Financial Results for the Year Ended March 31, 2014" (PDF).
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  19. "Deal reached with Sharp to renegotiate stake price: Hon Hai". The Daily China. 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
  20. "Sharp to accept investment from Samsung, expand LCD panel supply". Mainichi Japan. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  21. "Solar Cell Efficiency World Record Set By Sharp -- 44.4% - CleanTechnica". CleanTechnica.
  22. Hisense (31 July 2015). "Hisense's Major Expansion: Acquiring Sharp America".
  23. "What Does Sharp Exiting the TV Business Really Mean? - Consumer Reports".
  24. Takashi Mochizuki (31 July 2015). "Sharp to Explore Options for LCD Panel Business". WSJ.
  25. "Video: Sharp has invented a smartphone that's also a ridiculously cute robot - Telegraph". 7 October 2015.
  26. "Sharp will launch 8K TVs next month, at six-digit prices". ExtremeTech.
  27. Richard Lawler. "The first 8K TV will go on sale soon for over $130,000". Engadget. AOL.
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  30. "Sharp United Kingdom - Sharp".
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  35. “Solarbuzz Raises Global Photovoltaic 2010 Market Forecast to 15.2 GW”, SolarBuzz, 29 June 2010
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  37. "Foxconn misses June target to finish Sharp takeover". Nikkei Asian Review. July 1, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  38. "LG, Sharp, Chunghwa Agree to Plead Guilty, Pay Total of $585 Million in Fines for Participating in LCD Price-fixing Conspiracies". US Department of Justice. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  39. "Cease and Desist Order and Surcharge Payment Order against Manufacturers of TFT Liquid Crystal Display Module for "Nintendo DS" and "Nintendo DS Lite"". Japan Fair Trade Commission. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  40. "Complaints against the Cease and Desist Order and the Administrative Surcharge Payment Order of the Japan Fair Trade Commission". Sharp Corp. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  41. "About Sharp's appeal for TFT panel price cartel". Japan Fair Trade Commission (in Japanese). 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
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  44. "United must find new shirt sponsor". International. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
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External links

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