Teaming up to produce panels.
Sure, Sony’s ¥22 billion investment in OLED development was impressive, but full-scale production of OLED TVs is a way off yet, which is presumably why Sony feels confident committing over ¥100 billion (£641 million) of investment into a joint venture with Sharp, manufacturing LCD panels.
The end result will be a ¥380 billion LCD panel factory of which it was previously reported Sony plans to take a 34 per cent stake in and while the full details of the deal are apparently still being worked out, Sony’s initial investment is likely to be in the ¥50-60 billion region, rising to that ¥100 billion plus total later. As a result of its investment Sony will secure a supply of panels for its next generation LCD TVs while Sharp obviously receives a not-insignificant financial assistance in the establishment of the panel production plant. Apparently the deal should have been finalised last month but, as a result of the economic downturn, was delayed. Given the costs involved that’s hardly surprising.
The resulting plant – sited in Sakai, western Japan for the curious – will be the world’s first to use 10th generation glass substrates. The larger size of these makes per-panel production costs lower, which will hopefully result in cheaper TVs for us consumers.