As Sony try to defend their 200Hz Motionflow technology, up against a surging Samsung, news has emerged that the Japanese Company is looking to move away from their manufacturing partnership with the Korean based Samsung, in favour of a partnership with Japanese Company Sharp.
This say the Japanese media will be a lot more palatable to both consumers and politicians in Japan.
A few weeks ago Sony and Sharp agreed to set up a joint venture to produce next-generation LCD panels with Sony investing 100 billion Yen to secure a 10% stake in the Company. Sharp are investing 380 billion yen.
In 2004, Samsung Electronics and Sony invested W2.1 trillion (US$1=W1,286) to create an LCD joint venture called S-LCD. This Company which is 51% owned by Samsung and run by Samsung management was at one stage producing up to 70% of Sony’s Bravia LCD TV production.
However of late cracks have opened up between the two Companies as Samsung rips flat panel TV market share away from Sony in markets like Australia and the USA.
According to the Japanese newspaper the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, the problem was that the more Sony became dependent on the joint venture, the more criticism it faced at home, with the joint venture criticized as benefiting only Samsung.
Sony was accused of allowing rival Samsung to become a formidable foe in the global LCD TV market by buying key LCD panel components from the Korean company.
According to industry observers in Japan the move to a relationship with Sharp is seen more as a way of forcing Samsung to deliver better pricing for Sony LCD TV’s made by the Samsung joint venture.
Several weeks ago ChannelNews revealed that Sony had also commenced discussions with LG Display in an effort to obtain better pricing for their Bravia LCD TV’s which sell at a premium in Australia.