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EXCLUSIvE InTERvIEw A CLEARER PICTURE ShARP dRIvES gRowTh ThRoUgh 'SUPER gREEn' TEChnoLogy By Joanna Stephens Hiroshi Sasaoka, CEO Sharp Electronics Europe The economic crisis, the strength of the Japanese yen and the mixed fortunes of Europe's widely divergent markets have combined to make Hiroshi Sasaoka's first year as CEO of Sharp Electronics (Europe) a challenging one. Sasaoka San admitted that the downturn had resulted in a considerable "erosion of expectations" over the past year. "Volume has remained stable at a growth rate of 5%- 7%, but there has been a decline in value of 5%- 10% ," he added. Since July, however, Sharp has seen the first green shoots of recovery in its Western European markets, driven by Germany, the Benelux and the Nordic territories. Sasaoka expects this upward trend to gather pace through 2010, but said that Spain would remain tough for the foreseeable future. And he believes that it will take at least another two years for Russia — with its oildriven economy and "zero finance" — and Eastern Europe to turn the corner. "It's difficult to predict what will happen next," Sasaoka added. "It seems that everybody at the moment is looking for a new vision and direction. But what I do believe is that we will see our industry move increasingly towards more environmentally-friendly products and processes, and a greater emphasis on lifestyle products." Sharp intends to be on the frontline of both of these trends, as its IFA 2009 slogan — 'High Technology and Super Green' — indicates. In Berlin this week, Sasaoka announced that Sharp is bringing forward the start of production at what is billed as "the world's most advanced LCD plant". Located in Sakai City in Japan, the 'super green' factory will not only help Sharp to reduce the cost of manufacturing bigscreen LCDs and e-signage displays, but it will also be partially powered by solar energy. Sharp's product range also reflects its commitment to "ecological advancement through high technology", Sasaoka said. Its best-inclass range of AQUOS XS1 premium LCD televisions, with integrated RGB LED backlight technology, raise the bar in terms of both the total TV experience and the power consumption needed to deliver it. “LED technology is a quantum leap for LCD TVs and is revolutionising the future of the television market," Sasaoka said, reiterating his message at Sharp's IFA press conference last week. "Now that the technological race to make larger and thinner devices is over," he said, "LED backlight technology would take image brilliance, colour contrast and energy consumption to new, undreamed-of levels." "We are striving to make our backlight technology more affordable," Sasaoka said, adding that, with less than 100W at 52- inch, Sharp's new LCD TV series, LE700E and LE600E, boasts "the smallest power consumption in the world." This, however, in no way compromises performance. The models boast a 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, an even higher level of colour reproduction and constant screen illumination of over 90%. "The market's reaction to the LE700E and LE600E has been extremely encouraging," Sasaoka added. And he is optimistic that interest in Sharp's AQUOS LC TVs will gather momentum in the next few months, fuelled by the festive season, the 2010 football World Cup and the European market's continuing recovery. In the meantime, IFA is the "best opportunity for us to introduce our new product line-up to the world", Sasaoka concluded. "It's always a big event for us." Hall 3.2 / Stand 101 IFA International is a CLEVERDIS Publication • 65 avenue Jules Cantini - Tour Méditerranée - 13298 Marseille • France • Tel: + 33 4 42 77 46 00 • Fax: + 33 4 42 77 46 01 • SARL capitalised at € 128,250 - VAT FR 95413604471 • RCS Marseille 413 604 471 • E-mail : • • During IFA : Press Center – Hall 6.3 – Room 401 • Tel: +49 (0)30 3038 81136 • Fax: +49 (0)30 3038 81146 • E-mail : • • Publisher: Gérard Lefebvre • Publishing Director: Jean-Guy Bienfait • Project Manager: Bettina Badon • Editor-in-Chief: Richard Barnes • Associate Editor: Jooree Cho • Editorial team: Neil Crossley, Marc Dezzani, Emmanuel Poidevin, Gary Smith, Jo Stephens • Photos: Didier Baverel • Videos: Sacha Le Corroler, Farouk Bounouara, Laurent Masini • Art Director: Hélène Beunat • Design & Page Setting: Guillaume Kaercher, Valentina Russo • With the participation of: Laura Howainski, Laura Moessner, Jean-François Pieri, Raphaël Pinot, Masha Polshinskaya, Benjamin Ras • To contact them : first name.last • Cover : © Photo Messe Berlin • Printing: Möller Druck und Verlag GmbH (Berlin, Germany) © CLEVERDIS 2009 - Registration of Copyright August 2009 - ISSN pending Information presented in this publication is purely indicative in order to illustrate subjects contained therein. 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