Sharp Corporation

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Sharp Corporation Global
Native name
Traded as TYO: 6753
Osaka SE: 6753
Nagoya SE: 6753
Industry Consumer electronics
Founded 1912 (1912) (Tokyo)
Founder Tokuji Hayakawa
Headquarters Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan
Area served
Worldwide Global
Key people
Kozo Takahashi
Shigeki Mizushima
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]
Profit 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
Decrease 50,253 (2014)[* 1]
Slogan Be Sharp / From Sharp Minds Come Sharp Products

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 Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan, Sharp employed 49,096 people worldwide as of March 2015. The company was founded in September 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder's first inventions, the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil, which was invented by Tokuji Hayakawa (早川 徳次) in 1915.

As of 2013, Sharp Corporation is the tenth-largest, by market share, television manufacturer in the world.[1] In Japan it has been a long-time leader.[2] Sharp has at times also been the most popular mobile phone brand in the Japanese market, but is currently third biggest.[3][4]


Sharp portable TV
Sharp MD-MS701H

In 1912, Tokuji Hayakawa (早川 徳次) 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.[5] 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 television sets.

In 1964, Sharp developed the world's first transistor calculator, which was priced at ¥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 ¥350,000 (about US$1000). Its first LSI calculator was introduced in 1969. This was the first pocketable calculator priced at less than ¥100,000 (less than US$300), and turned out to be a popular item.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] In July 2008 Sharp announced that the model will go into production for the Japanese market.[10]

In 2008, Sharp collaborated with Emblaze Mobile on the Monolith, " ambitious project to design the ultimate holistic mobile device".[11] 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".[12]

In 2012 Sharp unveiled the largest production television 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 ¥950,000.[13]

2012 was the 100th anniversary for Sharp but it announced the worst financial record in its history, with a loss of 376 billion yen (US$4.7 billion) in April 2012. In September, Sharp announced job cuts.[14] In 2014, Sharp was able to stem losses and deliver a positive net income for its first quarter results.[15]

In March 2012 the Taiwan-based electronics company Hon Hai, trading as Foxconn, agreed to acquire a 10 percent 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.[16] 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 ¥192 at August 3. Sharp deal's price was originally ¥550 per share. Both companies agreed to renegotiate the share price, but they never came to an agreement.[17]

Sharp announced it accepted a US$100 million investment from Samsung in March 2013.[18]

In 2013 Sharp developed the most efficient solar cell, converting a record 44.4% of sunlight into electricity.[19]

After years of huge losses in its overseas television business, Sharp sold its Mexico television 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 effectively meant that Sharp has exited the television market in the Americas (except Brazil).[20] It was a sign showing Sharp's rapid decline in that market, where it once was one of the leading manufacturers for LCD TVs only a decade earlier.[21] Sharp's television market share in North America was 4.6% in 2015.[22] However Sharp remains the biggest television brand in the Japanese market.[2]

In October 2015 Sharp announced a smartphone that also works as a robot, called RoboHon. It will be sold in 2016 in Japan.[23]

Sharp will sell the world's first commercially available television with a 8K resolution, starting October 2015. The 85-inch LV-85001 model costs ¥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.[24][25]


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.[26]

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.[27]

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[citation needed]. 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,[28][29] and offers a solar TV.[30] In Q1 2010 the company made the highest revenues from production of solar PV systems.[31]


The current Sharp world headquarters in Osaka, 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[32]

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 Manufacturing Poland Sp. z o.o. Ostaszewo 57b 87-148 Łysomice Toruń, Poland (Europe)
  • Sharp also has manufacturing facility in Indonesia, a plant in Kerrawang is the largest refrigerator producing plant in the world

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 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).[33]


On December 18, 2008, Japan Fair Trade Commission ordered Sharp to pay 261 million yen (US$3 million) as criminal fine. According to the order, Sharp and Hitachi Display participated 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.[34]

However, Sharp disagreed with the JFTC order and announced to begin appeal procedure against it on Feb 2, 2009.[35] On July 31, 2013, JFTC dismissed Sharp's appeal.[36]

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."[37]

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 2 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.[37]

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.[37]


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.[38][39] 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 sponsors of a UCI World Tour cycling team, which thereupon became known as Garmin-Sharp.

Products gallery


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External links