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NEWS Sharp opens new LCD

NEWS Sharp opens new LCD TV factory for Europe Sharp President Mikio Katayama and representatives of the Polish government have opened the technology company's new LCD TV factory at a formal ceremony. Poland Sharp is now manufacturing AQUOS LCD TVs for the booming European market in Torun. Europe is currently the largest market for flat-screen TVs. Over 40 per cent of all TVs marketed around the world are sold here, and European demand rose by 50 per cent in 2007 to 27 million LCD TVs. Sharp is therefore backing Europe as the market of the future and will be launching the production of LCD TVs for the European market in Torun, Poland with immediate effect. Sharp President Mikio Katayama and representatives of the Polish government formally opened the technology company’s new LCD TV factory at a traditional Japanese ceremony on 28 August. After a construction period of only one year and an investment of some 44 million euro (six billion yen), the LCD pioneer is now also manufacturing Sharp AQUOS LCD TVs in the new plant in addition to LCD modules. “The launch of LCD TV production here in Poland is an indication by Sharp of how important the European market is for our company. The plant in Torun will make us better able to meet the growing demand for LCD TVs throughout Europe. At the same time, it was a conscious decision to site the investment in the new plant in Eastern Europe, one of the most dynamically growing LCD TV markets on the continent,” declared Toshiyuki Tajima, CEO Sharp Electronics Europe. “Countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia are recording high growth rates for sales of LCD TVs and will become more and more important in future. We recognised this development at an early stage and are now positioned directly in the key market with our new plant. This offers us time, cost and delivery benefits, particularly in the yearend business ahead,” Tajima continued. The new factory, Sharp Manufacturing Poland (SMPL), means that the technology company is further expanding its global supply strategy, enabling it to service the demand for LCD TVs in the global target markets even faster and more directly. The core element of Sharp’s global supply strategy is integrated production, i.e. combining the production of LCD modules and the final LCD TV in one plant. The Polish LCD TV factory covering the European market now joins other plants in Mexico, China, Malaysia and Japan (Kameyama). The LCD panels for the TVs come from Kameyama, the most modern LCD factory in the world. In Kameyama II Sharp is already operating the world’s first 8th generation LCD factory from one year ago. The plant has been manufacturing LCD TVs for the international market since September 2006. The LCD technology leader is therefore able to process the world’s largest motherglass panels measuring 2.16 times 2.46 metres. Individual panels for a new generation of largeformat full-HD Sharp AQUOS LCD TVs are cut from the 5.3-square-metre motherglass panels. These will then be supplied to the new plant in Torun among others for further processing. Eight 46-inch or six 52-inch LCD TVs, for example, can be manufactured from one Kameyama II motherglass panel. In Torun Sharp has built not only an LCD TV factory but also an entire industrial estate. The Sharp Crystal Park in Poland, on which supplier companies for the LCD TV production are taking premises close to the Sharp factory, covers 177 hectares. Shorter transport distances mean that faster supplies can be achieved, CO2 emissions avoided and shorter delivery times can be provided for. Price Drop Stimulates HD DVD Market A new Toshiba player that will cost 400 euros or less in most European markets is expected to open up a whole new market sector for the HD DVD format. The HD-EP30 will be in the same price range as some DVD players featuring the standard definition up-scaling capability, a feature also supported by the HD-EP30. The HD-EP35 model - which will retail for around 500 euros - will offer additional features such as a REGZA-Link (HDMI-CEC), Deep Colour via HDMI, 5.1 analogue output and high bit-rate audio. Both models will be available in Europe as from this October. The price of the Xbox HD DVD player is also heading south to an estimated retail price of 179 euros which makes it the cheapest option for next-generation content. “HD DVD is already the best value format for movie aficionados,” Ken Graffeo, Co-Chairman of the European HD DVD Promotional group, said. “The format is already achieving a good level of sales but we want every consumer to benefit from the amazing pictures, sounds and experiences that HD DVD delivers. These new player and price announcements mean that HD is now available to every consumer who owns an HDTV. With the support of 30 European studios and Hollywood’s finest, including DreamWorks Animation, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros, HD DVD will be bringing more than 150 new titles to the market in the fourth quarter.” IFA International • Saturday, 1 st September 2007 3

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