Sharp mulls shifting laptop computer, copier production from China

28, May. 2019

TOKYO, NNA - Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. is planning to shift production from China of laptop computers, digital signage and multifunctional copiers destined for the U.S. market to avoid higher tariffs, a spokesman said Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an administrative order earlier this month, raising tariffs on Chinese imports from 10% to 25%, starting at the end of June and affecting $200 billion worth of goods.

Sharp is examining plans to move its high-end laptop computer production for the U.S. market from a plant in the city of Hangzhou to a location yet to be decided, the Sharp spokesman, who declined to be named, confirmed.

The Nikkei Shimbun daily reported on Monday, without naming sources, that Sharp was considering Taiwan or Vietnam for that move, where Sharp and its parent, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., already have factories.

The Sharp spokesman said laptop computers for the U.S. market account for 10 percent of the firm’s total personal computer output.

He said Sharp is considering Thailand as a possible location for making its multifunctional copiers for the U.S., and Mexico for digital signage output.

Sharp Chairman and President Tai Jeng-wu told news media on Monday that the relocation would have a limited impact on the company's operations in China, as sales of those products for the U.S. account for just 3.8 percent of Sharp’s overall sales.

Sharp will also restructure its operations into three business domains starting July 1, to keep up with market changes. The three areas are: information and communication technology (ICT), 8K ecosystems, and smart business.

Each division will have its own chief executive officer to expedite decision making.