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Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

Sharp to bring forward expansion of LCD plant

Staff writer

Sharp Corp. will increase in July the liquid crystal display production capacity of its Kameyama No. 2 plant in Mie Prefecture to 90,000 sheets a month from the current 60,000 to cope with growing demand, President Mikio Katayama said Tuesday.

On the timing of the plant's expansion, the world's leading LCD manufacturer had previously only said it would take place by the end of this year.

During a news conference to mark the new year, Katayama said Sharp is bringing forward its schedule of the Kameyama plant expansion because global demand for LCD televisions is expected to increase by 29.7 percent to 96 million units in fiscal 2008.

Katayama said China will become the key market for flat-screen televisions this year due to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.

"The Beijing Olympics will be favorable for us and we will focus our energy on China," he said.

Katayama added that Sharp's LCD sales in China topped those in the European market in December. China is now Sharp's third-biggest LCD market, after Japan and North America, he said.

Katayama's remarks came as the electronics industry is facing a realignment triggered by intensifying competition in the flat-panel TV market.

In September, Sharp and Pioneer Corp. agreed to form a business and capital tieup in which Pioneer will purchase liquid crystal displays from Sharp.

Last month, Sharp said it had formed a tieup with Toshiba Corp. on LCDs under which Toshiba will purchase LCDs from Sharp while Sharp plans to buy system LSI semiconductors from Toshiba.

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The Japan Times

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