Sharp Corp yesterday launched its flagship smartphone in Taiwan, marking the Japanese electronics maker’s official return to the local market after an absence of almost four years.
Sharp has been readjusting its operating strategy in Taiwan and other overseas markets after it reached an investment deal with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) in April.
Last month, the Japanese firm reached an agreement with Sampo Corp (聲寶) to close their retail joint venture in Taiwan in a bid to retrieve its rights to directly sell its home appliances to local consumers and lower its operating costs.
Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) last month told shareholders that he plans to cut Sharp’s retail joint ventures in other countries in the upcoming months to improve the company’s operations.
In addition to Sharp’s white-goods business, Commtiva Technology Taiwan Ltd (康法科技), a close business partner of Hon Hai, is to assist Sharp in expanding its smartphone business’ reach in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Sharp’s Aquos P1, priced at NT$20,990 (US$648), features a 5.3-inch screen with Sharp’s indium-gallium-zinc-oxide display technology and a 22.6-megapixel rear camera, the Japanese company said.
Commitiva said that Taiwan has been chosen to be the first country for Sharp to introduce its annual flagship smartphones in the overseas market, adding that Commitiva would help the Japanese firm introduce its mid to high-end smartphones to Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia later this year.
“Given that Sharp’s smartphones have been absent from the Taiwan market for nearly four years, our priority is to reinforce its brand image as an innovative smartphone brand instead of pursuing handset shipment growth or market share in Taiwan,” Commtiva general manager Steven Yeh (葉順發) told reporters on the sidelines of the launch event.
Commenting on Sharp’s return to Taiwan’s handset market, HTC Corp (宏達電) North Asia president Jack Tong (董俊良) was quoted by the Chinese-language Apple Daily as saying that he expects to see limited effects from the moves because the Taiwanese smartphone market is already mature and saturated.
In related news, HTC yesterday posted a 26.74 percent annual decline in revenue and a 5.84 percent monthly decrease to NT$6.35 billion for last month, weaker than consensus estimates of NT$11.3 billion.
That brought the company’s combined revenue to NT$18.86 billion for last quarter, almost halved from NT$33 billion it made over the same period last year, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Last quarter’s result represented sequential growth of 27 percent from NT$14.82 billion it reported in the first quarter.
HTC attributed the growth to its flagship smartphone launch and sales contribution from its Vive virtual reality headsets.
HTC’s accumulated revenue in the first half of the year plummeted 54.81 percent to NT$33.68 billion from a year earlier, the filing showed.
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