First Europe and now North America. Japanese Sharp has struggled to make its TV business profitable for years but without luck. Sharp will license its brand to Chinese Hisense.
The Sharp logo will not disappear
Once a great TV manufacturer, Sharp has struggled to compete with South Korean players. At its earnings call today, the company reported deep first-quarter losses of $231 million USD, and confirmed that it will exit the TV business in North America.
Sharp will sell its TV manufacturing plant in Mexico to Chinese Hisense Group. It will also license its brand to Hisense, allowing them to sell TVs with a Sharp logo attached in the coming years. Hisense will pay Sharp $23.7 million.
- "Sharp has not been able to fully adapt to the intensifying market competition, which led to significantly lower profits compared to the initial projections for the previous fiscal year, and has been suffering from poor earnings performance," the company said.
Sharp pulled out of the European TV market last year and has licensed its brand in this region to Universal Media Corporation (UMC).
Sharp is also considering major changes for its LCD panel production. The company is currently producing and selling LCD panels to other phone, tablet, and TV brands. It is considering several options, including a strategic deal with another company for its LCD business, after it refused to do such a deal as late as May 2015.
The company recently launched Roku and Android based TVs in the US. It is unclear if what Hisense intends to do from here. Hisense has made a similar deal with German Loewe.