TOKYO Sharp Corp. said it would introduce 42-, 46-, and 52-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs whose panels would be fabricated in the company's Gen 8 fab in Kameyama.
The fab, opened earlier this month, will use 2160 x 2460-mm glass substrates, with the TVs to be available globally starting Oct.1.
"The simultaneous release in the world is Sharp's message of full-fledged commitment to the global market," said Mikio Katayama, corporate senior executive director in charge of Sharp's large LCD business and audio-visual systems group.
Sharp had led the LCD TV market since 1999 when Katsuhiko Machida, president of Sharp, set a strategy to focus on LCD TVs. But DisplaySearch's latest report found Sharp dropped to third place with an 11.8 percent share, following Philips/Magnavox's 13.5 percent and Samsung's 13.1 percent.
"Our supply capability has not been enough to meet demand these days especially demand from overseas," said Katayama.
The Kameyama fab 2 produces eight 46-inch panels or six 52-inch panels from a single substrate. Initial capacity is 15,000 substrates a month, ramping up to 90,000 per month by mid-2008, yielding 720,000 units per month for 46-inch panels.
All the LCD TVs feature full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, a 2000 to 1 contrast ratio, and 4 ms response time.
In conjunction with the panel production expansion, Sharp is reorganizing its global LCD TV assembly system. The company currently turns panels into semi-finished modules with backlight and driving circuits in China and Malaysia. The modules were then sent to TV assembly plants.
To streamline production and cut shipping costs, Sharp will begin assembling semi-finished TV modules in its Mexican plant starting September, and in a new plant under construction in Poland starting January. These plants will serve the North American and European markets. The China and Malaysia plants will continue covering the China and Far East markets.
The Mexican fab will have a capacity of 100,000 units a month by next summer. "For the North American market, we are considering a new assembly line," said Katayama.