Sharp president Mikio Katayama
Company expects to double sales in China in the next year, and is confident Sony will increase its stake in LCD panel joint venture

Sharp is aiming to double the number of outlets selling its LCD TVs in China over the next 12 months, and increase sales there to more than Y20bn (almost £150m), twice current levels, in the same period.

That's the ambition of company president Mikio Katayama, speaking to reporters in Tokyo yesterday. It's part of a larger plan to increase its worldwide LCD TV sales to 15m units in the current financial year, 47% more than in 2009-10, and Katayama expects China to account for at least 2.4m of those sales.

Katayama said that while the company currently allocates 70-80%  of its business resources to its current major markets, 'emerging countries will start receiving a higher portion than industrialised nations within several years'.

And he expects demand for larger screen sizes to continue to create shortages of panels, with the result that the company is considering starting manufacture of larger sizes in Malaysia, where it already makes displays up to 32in.

In a parallel announcement, Katayama said he expects Sony to follow through with its plans to increase its stake in a joint venture manufacturing LCD panels in Sakai, Japan. Currently Sony holds a 7% stake, but has an agreement to increase that to 34%, subject to conditions.

More after the break

However, there is currently some speculation that Sony may not increase its stake, due to past problems in the supply of panels.

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