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Foxconn’s Sharp Investment

Foxconn parent HON HAI PRECISION, a taiwanese company, agreed on March 27th to buy about 10% of Sharp, a struggling Japanese consumer-electronics company, for the sum of USD 808 millions, which was looking for funds to push LCD technology forward.
In the same time, for a similar amount, Hon Hai’s chairman, Terry Gou, and some others investors will also buy half of the 93% Sharp’s 93% stake in a factory in Sakai, in Japan, that makes large liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels. The others 7% are still owned by SONY, another Japanese company.

By this strategic deal, both parties establish a manufacturing partnership that will combine the strengths of each company, “to launch cost competitive components and products.” : large-size LCD panels and LCD modules will be manufactured at Sharp’s panel-making plant in Osaka, Japan, and Sharp will utilise Hon Hai components to lower costs . They will so create new attractive products to fit the market. The new partnership will also make Foxconn the single largest shareholder in Sharp, which is expected to see its biggest annual loss in the company’s 99-year history.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek reports, and to most of talk surrounding this deal, this investment could signal that Apple, which is already a customer of Foxconn and Sharp, is planning to create a television: perhaps a “iTV”, that can be more than 60-inch screens. This rumor seems to be confirmed : Apple was granted, on March 27th, a very interesting and important patent about a very specific TV display technology. Apple pushed the research on a little unknown technology called  Fringe Field Switching (FSS) so, that they may be able to use it on large HDTV.

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