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Sharp raises Indonesia output of appliances with local touch

Hijab-friendly washers and halal fridges a hit in Muslim-majority nation

Sharp's washing machines in Indonesia feature a delicate mode for women's hijab head coverings.

OSAKA -- Sharp has expanded its Indonesian production capacity for washing machines and refrigerators, Nikkei has learned, working to increase the supply of popular appliances tailored to the largely Islamic market.

The Osaka-headquartered electronics maker spent about 500 million yen ($4.71 million) to boost annual capacity for washers by roughly 30% to 1.5 million units, with new production equipment installed at a plant near Jakarta. It lifted refrigerator output capacity around 20% by adding a third shift to the production schedule.

The moves give Sharp a chance to reinforce its leading share in both markets of the Southeast Asian country, where Muslims account for roughly 90% of the population.

Sharp has enjoyed particularly strong sales of washers featuring delicate modes for washing hijabs. It also offers sturdy laundry nets for protecting the women's head coverings in the wash.

Sales of refrigerators remain strong, apparently thanks in part to halal certification for compliance with Islamic dietary laws.

Sharp targets Indonesian sales of 70 billion yen for fiscal 2019, up 8% on the year. It aims to expand sales of products made to fit local trends. The company is owned by Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn.

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