Sharp mulls moving laptop computer production from China to Vietnam to avoid U.S. tariffs

07, Jun. 2019

TOKYO, NNA - Sharp Corp. says it is “considering” shifting its production of laptop computers for the U.S. market from China to Vietnam to avoid higher U.S. tariffs.

Sharp currently makes all of its laptops in China. The company said last month that it was planning to shift production from China of laptop computers, digital signage and multifunctional copiers destined for the U.S. market.

A spokesman, who declined to be named, told NNA on Friday that if the U.S applies higher tariffs on a wider range of Chinese products as planned, Sharp would first move production of U.S.-bound laptops to its existing factory in Taiwan, then transfer it to a new factory in Vietnam slated for completion in the second half of fiscal 2019, which ends in March next year.

Sharp is building the new factory in Binh Duong Province in the south to make smartphones, but expects to have room to produce laptops in light of sluggish global demand for smartphones, according to the spokesman.

The plant is estimated to cost more than one billion yen ($9 million), news reports said.

Sharp makes about 10,000 laptops a month for the U.S. market, accounting for about 10 percent of total laptop output.

The company runs its personal computer business through Dynabook Inc., which it acquired from Toshiba Corp. in October 2018.

The Sharp spokesman said the U.S.-China trade row is expected to lower group sales by 1.4 percent from its forecast of 2.65 trillion yen in the current fiscal year ending next March.