With each passing week we feel that Sharp may give the display industry the same sort of show that Elpida gave to the DRAM segment: a stunningly abrupt business collapse.
Elpida doesn't technically exist anymore. After it felt the brunt of the decline in memory sales, it ended up being bought by Micron
Sharp hasn't started down the road of bankruptcy yet, but it has been losing a lot of money and, consequently, making serious sacrifices.
It started with 5,000 planned job cuts, then another few thousands, then there was the decision to fire 11,000 employees (in addition to the previous ones, apparently).
The company has also begun selling certain assets, (worth $2.74 Billion) and reducing the scope of certain operations, like solar cell manufacturing.
Now it is reported that the Japan-based consumer electronics maker is reducing the manufacturing capacity for 32-inch LCD TV panels as well.
Its 8G plant will make less than 100,000 units a month, since there aren't odds for sales to demand anything more. Competition on that front is tight.
In fact, Sharp intends to completely stop overall production of such displays by 2014.
Thus, Samsung Electronics, LG Display, BOE Technology, Chia Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) and AU Optronics (AUO) will have that layer of the TV industry to themselves (all of them make over one million a month).
That said, the 8G plant will be steadily turned into a producer of small- to medium-sized panels for smartphones and other portable gadgets.
For our part, we think that Sharp collapsing would be unfortunate, given how many years it has been around. Most people probably don't even know this, but the name “Sharp” comes from one of the first inventions of its founders, the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil. The instrument was created in 1915, three years after the foundations of the business were placed.
At least there is one lifeline it can hang onto: ultrabook LCDs