Manufacturer scored big as contractor for Apple, but now seeks to build its own brands with push into Sharp TVs
Sharp televisions on display in Taipei. Foxconn, which bought Sharp last year, aims to double its TV sales to 10 million units this year. Photo: David Chang/European Pressphoto Agency
Dozens of young workers sit before computers in blue plastic chairs, drawing up battle plans for Foxconn’s sales initiative for its new Sharp-branded television sets. “Sell Sharp with all your might,” a red banner hanging from the ceiling commands.
Foxconn’s acquisition of Japan’s Sharp Corp. SHCAY -1.02% last year was the Taiwanese company’s first big effort toward transforming itself from a contract manufacturer to a technology powerhouse, with its own brands and product lines.
Behind both the Sharp and Toshiba plays is the conviction of Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou that the company he started 43 years ago must have its own components and brands if it is to survive to become what he has called a “100-year company.”
With sales of Apple’s iPhone, Foxconn’s bread-and-butter product, declining for the first time last year, analysts endorse Foxconn’s new direction. But they caution that going up against bigger, established competitors such as Samsung Electronics Corp.won’t be easy.
Acquiring the Toshiba business could help Foxconn shave costs by giving it an in-house supply for memory chips for Sharp TVs and other electronics. But the bid is already hitting headwinds from some Japanese government officials, who see the chip business as a strategic asset, people familiar with the matter say.
Eva DouApril 18, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET