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Sharp pledges $1bn to SoftBank tech fund

Japanese electronics maker takes aim at boosting IoT business

OSAKA -- Sharp will provide $1 billion over the next five years to a massive fund spearheaded by tech giant SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia, the Japanese electronics maker said Thursday.

Sharp seeks to build up its "internet of things" business and hopes the investment can aid its search for potential partners in up-and-coming technologies.

A Saudi sovereign wealth fund will pitch in $45 billion to the SoftBank Vision Fund, with Tokyo-based SoftBank providing $25 billion. Other contributors to the fund include U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm and Sharp's Taiwanese parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn.

While persistent financial woes had kept Sharp's investment low, it turned an operating profit in the year ended in March thanks to cost cuts and restructuring led by Foxconn, which acquired Sharp last year.

In the current fiscal year, Sharp aims to launch a "counteroffensive," setting out to bolster sales of liquid crystal display televisions and step up production of camera modules for smartphones. Expansion of IoT-related businesses is likely to be a core part of its three-year management plan, which is due out May 26.

(Nikkei)

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