Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Sharp expecting price war with rivals

AFP TOKYO

The world's largest flat panel manufacturer Sharp Corp said yesterday that it expects stiff price competition from Taiwan and South Korean makers of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) but it has no plans to move production outside Japan until at least 2010.

"If we took still developing technology overseas now, there is a danger it would become obsolete," Sharp president Katsuhiko Machida told the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Key engineering talent remains in Japan and it would not make sense to move production abroad, perhaps to other Asian countries where labor costs are lower, until the technology has matured, Machida said.

"Certainly in the next six to 10 years, there will be a major technological revolution. I think from around 2010 a move to production abroad will begin," he said.

Sharp foresees a price war as rivals such as Samsung and LG Philips LCD and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) boost output of flat-screen monitors in the future.

Machida said Sharp will have to cut costs to remain competitive.

"There is no [doubt] that we can foresee cost competition. We are already reviewing how to cut costs further at our plant in Kameyama and by doing so we hope to be able to withstand the price competition," he said.

Sharp sold ?528.8 billion (US$4.9 billion) in LCDs in the last year to March and targets sales of ?730 billion in the current year.

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