ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Hisense CEO for the U.S. market Jerry Liu says his company will continue to license the Sharp brand in America. (Photo by Debby Wu)
Business

Hisense says it will not cede Sharp US licensing to Foxconn

Defiant TV maker insists on marketing its own brand and Sharp in America

DEBBY WU, Nikkei staff writer | Taiwan

LAS VEGAS -- Chinese TV maker Hisense will not terminate its licensing of the Sharp brand in the U.S. as requested by the Japanese electronics group at a time that both companies are seeking global expansion.

In 2015, Hisense paid Sharp $23.7 million to acquire a TV production facility in Mexico and the right to use the Japanese brand in the North and South American markets, with the exception of Brazil, for five years. The Osaka-based company struck the deal with Hisense when it was in deep financial turmoil.

However, key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, wanted to terminate the licensing agreement after it completed the acquisition of Sharp in August 2016.

The Taiwanese company is seeking to stem Sharp's losses by cutting costs and marketing its electronics products including TV and home appliances worldwide.

But Foxconn's plan has been derailed by Hisense's refusal to revoke the licensing deal. While Hisense is a top five global TV maker by shipments, Sharp is better known brand internationally.

Hisense Group President Liu Hongxin told Chinese media in October that he did not intend to terminate the license as Sharp was operating well in the American markets under his company's management.

On Wednesday, Hisense President for the U.S. market Jerry Liu reaffirmed Hisense's stance.

"We will follow the contract to the dot," Liu told reporters on Wednesday after a company event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Liu said that Hisense will market itself as a hip, young brand, and target Sharp at an older, professional crowd.

Following Liu Hongxin's statement in October, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou ordered Sakai Display Products, a Sharp affiliate controlled by his family, to gradually stop supplying panels to Hisense.

But Jerry Liu appeared unfazed.

"We have many suppliers, and we have our own brand and our own technology. Foxconn is only a supplier, and they don't supply all that much to us, but again we still have a partnership with them," Jerry Liu told reporters.

Over the past few months, Gou has mostly focused on promoting Sharp in China, including attending various events to promote large-sized TVs.

Sakai Display also signed an agreement with the Guangzhou government to build an $8.8 billion advanced panel production facility in the southern Chinese city.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media