Sharp CEO Doubts Rival Technology -- WSJ
By Takashi Mochizuki
TOKYO -- Sharp Corp.'s newly-appointed chief executive voiced
skepticism on Tuesday regarding a rival smartphone screen
technology that the Japanese electronics maker has been late to
Sharp, which was bought in August by Taiwanese iPhone assembler
Foxconn Technology Group, on Tuesday reported a net loss of 17.9
billion yen ($170.8 million) during the July-September quarter,
less than the Yen49.6 billion loss it reported in the same period a
year ago due to some asset write-downs. The Osaka-based company,
whose display-panel business has been struggling due to rivals
aggressively cutting prices, said it would return to profitability
in the second half of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31,
with a projected net profit forecast at Yen3.6 billion.
That brings the company's full fiscal-year forecast to a loss of
Yen41.8 billion (nearly $400 million).
Foxconn, Apple Inc.'s main manufacturing partner, has said it
would help Sharp accelerate its efforts to mass-produce flexible
organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, display panels, which have
the potential to be used for bendable screens. Apple is considering
an iPhone model with the technology as early as next year, people
familiar with the matter say.
But, Sharp's newly-appointed chief executive Tai Jeng-wu, who
was dispatched by Foxconn to turn around the ailing company,
stressed his skepticism regarding the technology at an earnings
briefing on Tuesday.
Sharp, a pioneer in liquid-crystal displays, will make OLED
product samples but Mr. Tai said he hasn't yet decided whether his
company will fully commit to the displays, adding that Sharp's LCD
technology is superior. Sharp had said in April it hopes to start
mass-making OLED displays from 2019.
"I am not sure yet whether OLED has a future," said Mr. Tai,
adding that the technology wasn't mature enough to produce a
Analysts remain skeptical about Sharp's potential in the field
because the technology requires major capital investment and Sharp
is far behind South Korean electronics giants who have invested in
the technology for televisions and smartphones. But Foxconn's
partnership with Apple could give Sharp a helping hand.
At present, iPhone displays are supplied by Sharp, Japan Display
Inc. and LG Display Co., but only Samsung is capable of providing a
mass quantity of OLED displays, analysts say. Apple prefers to
procure components from multiple suppliers.
The Taiwanese leader said his major mission is to quickly
overhaul the troubled Japanese company, with the help of strong
backing from Foxconn, which will support Sharp in reviewing various
business contracts that are unfavorable to Sharp related to
component procurement and brand licensing deals, the chief
"I would make the most use of Foxconn power as the world's
largest contract electronics manufacturer since Sharp, if on its
own, is weak," Mr. Tai said.
Write to Takashi Mochizuki at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 02, 2016 02:48 ET (06:48 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.