Beijing Pressures Sharp To Upgrade Chinese LCD TV Panel Factory To G10

Jonathan Sutton

Having swiftly approved Samsung’s and LG’s requests to build cutting-edge LCD manufacturing plants in China last year, the Chinese government is having some reservations about giving the go-ahead to a similar application from Sharp Corporation, the Japanese national newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun has reported. This is due to the Osaka-headquartered TV maker’s reluctance to disclose sensitive details on its latest technologies to Chinese organisations, for fear of intellectual property (IP) theft and the effect on the output of its own Sakai factory.

Sharp LCD TV

Sharp had initially intended to construct an eight-generation (G8) LCD panel factory in Nanjing, but Yomiuri‘s sources have revealed that Beijing is applying pressure on the Japanese HDTV manufacturer to deploy its tenth-generation (G10) LCD display technology instead in China. With each progressive generation of LCD manufacturing plant, larger sheets of “mother glass” (from which a number of panels are cut) can be handled, therefore boosting production efficiency. Eight 46-inch LCD TV panels can be made from a G8 mother glass, whereas a G10 sheet – boasting a total surface area of 8.7m2 – can be divided into eight 60-inch panels.

Currently, Sharp’s G10 LCD TV panels are produced in the conglomerate’s Sakai plant in the Osaka Prefacture, which is primed for the export of large-sized LCD television panels. However, with Sony seeking to procure cheaper LCD TV panels from Taiwanese manufacturers rather than investing more capital into the Sakai plant as originally agreed, Sharp is worried that the opening of a second Gen 10 plant will lead to an unwanted scenario of excessive manufacturing capacity unless the output from the Sakai factory is scaled down (which in itself is inefficient too).

Sharp’s request to set up a G8 LCD panel factory in Nanjing was submitted as a joint venture with a Chinese electronics firm. The Japanese corporation is also concerned that if it upgrades the Nanjing LCD-making facility to G10 as demanded by the Chinese government, there is a possibility its most advanced technological blueprints may be compromised by data leakage.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun