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Sharp to boost solar cell business in Asia

OSAKA -- Sharp is expanding its solar cell operations in Asia by building large-scale solar farms and selling home solar panels in new markets.

The company is partnering with companies in Mongolia, the Philippines and Indonesia to build megasolar power installations there, Hiroshi Sasaoka, president of Sharp's Energy Solutions Company, told The Nikkei in a recent interview.

The company also is considering a foray into sales of solar panels, including those for residential properties, in Taiwan -- the home territory of Hon Hai Precision Industry, which is acquiring the ailing Japanese electronics giant. Test sales are to launch there this fiscal year.

Sharp has developed the solar cell business in Europe, the U.S. and Thailand, but overseas sales total only a little over 5%. The business suffered an operating loss of 18.4 billion yen ($179 million) for the year ended in March. Despite a difficult April-June quarter, Sasaoka said a profit is expected for the current year ending March 2017.

Hon Hai reportedly considered splitting off the business. But the Taiwanese company now has a strong interest in the operations because solar cells are vital for the development of so-called smart homes, Sasaoka added.

(Nikkei)

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