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Sharp to build new energy-saving panels as early as 2016

OSAKA -- Sharp will begin mass production as soon as early next year of energy-efficient high-resolution panels for smartphones and other applications, aiming to turn its flagging LCD business around.

     The Super IGZO panels use an improved version of the Japanese manufacturer's mainstay IGZO oxide semiconductors. Sharp is working on mass production technology to boost the yield rate. Super IGZO panels have a higher resolution and consume 10-20% less energy than IGZO panels, which already use just a fifth as much as standard liquid crystal displays.

     The new panels will be built at Sharp's Kameyama Plant No. 2 in Mie Prefecture, where the company plans to stop making some unprofitable television panels. It aims to lift annual Super IGZO sales to 50 billion yen ($403 million) by fiscal 2020.

     Sharp's LCD business is expected to bleed red ink this fiscal year. The company is discussing restructuring with the public-private Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, which has proposed buying into Sharp itself or reorganizing the LCD business. Consolidating the business with Japan Display, in which the INCJ holds a stake, is also on the table.

(Nikkei)

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