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Sharp History

1996 : Color Zaurus PDA Debuts

US Sales Company SEC Builds New Los Angeles Office

In January, construction began on a distribution center in the suburbs of Los Angeles to strengthen distribution activities on the US West Coast. (Completed in March 1997.) The facility also serves as the Los Angeles office of SEC, Sharp's US sales company, as well as houses Sharp Digital Information Products (SDI) R&D base, making this Sharp's largest base on the West Coast.

Website Established on the Internet

In January, Sharp created Japanese and English websites to provide company information and new product news to the public. The websites carry the latest information on products such as LCDs, mobile equipment and personal computers.

http://www.sharp.co.jp/ (Japanese)

http://www.sharp-world.com/ (English)

Sharp Wins Nikkei Best Product Award's "Grand Prize" for 4th Straight Year

The LCD television was selected for the Nikkei Sangyo Best Product Award, marking the 4th year in a row that Sharp received the Grand Prize, following awards received for the ViewCam in 1992 (Nihon Keizai Shimbun), Zaurus in 1993 (Nikkei Sangyo), and NewsVision LCD projector in 1994 (Nikkei Sangyo). Much media focus was placed on this consecutive achievement, and on Sharp's TV commercial that was running at the same time. (The award was received again the following year for the Color Zaurus.)

No. 2 in Nikkei Company Evaluation

On February 26, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei), Japan's leading economic daily, chose Sharp as the second best domestic company for fiscal 1995, out of a total of 1,054 companies. Using a multivariate company evaluation system, the newspaper rated Sharp highly for the development of key devices and original products with unique features such as the company's LCDs, its continuous effort of releasing demand-creating products, and increased sales and profitability for 4 continuous years. (Sharp ranked No. 3 the following year in 1997.)

China Production Facility Expanded

In April, Sharp teamed up with Nanjing Panda Electronics Company Limited, China's second largest television manufacturer, to establish a joint audio-visual product manufacturing and sales company, Nanjing Sharp Electronics Co., Ltd. (NSEC) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Operations started in July 1997. In addition, SSEC announced the construction of a new plant to produce washing machines and refrigerators, which began operations in October 1997. Since SSEC began producing air conditioners in May 1992, the company has gradually expanded its manufacturing to include electric rice cookers and microwave ovens. The addition of washing machines and refrigerators allows the company to manufacture three major categories of home appliances.

The Zaurus Goes Color -- Color Zaurus Introduced

A color version of the popular Zaurus PDA was released in May. Equipped with a 5-inch color TFT LCD, this first-ever Color Zaurus model (MI-10/10DC, 120,000 yen/155,000 yen) can connect to the Internet, take photos with its built-in camera and record audio. The Zaurus has evolved rapidly to feature a wide range of functions, greatly increasing its appeal.

Large-Screen TV Jointly Developed with Sony

In September, Sharp and Sony Corporation announced that they would use plasma-addressed liquid crystal (PALC) technology to jointly develop large-screen flat display panels, creating quite a stir. PALC technology is a new display method that uses plasma discharge to drive the liquid crystal elements to produce a very bright, high-contrast, and sharp image for a 40-inch large panel. At later shows, Sharp amazed people with the TV's excellent, high-quality images and large screen sizes.

World's Largest (40-inch) TFT LCD Developed

At the Electronics Show in September, Sharp caused a sensation by announcing the world's largest TFT LCD. The screen uses two 29-inch TFT LCD panels and a proprietary joining technology to make the seam between the two panels invisible. This innovation opened the way to achieving low-cost large displays by effectively utilizing existing facilities and resources.

Total World Production of Microwave Ovens Reaches 50 Million Units

On November 12, the total worldwide production of microwave ovens manufactured in Japan, US, UK, Thailand and China reached 50 million. It took 22 years to reach the 10 million unit level since production began in 1962, but this time it only took two years and one month to reach the next 10 million units. Sharp microwave ovens sold at a rapid pace, especially in the Asian market.

Japanese and US Magazines Grant Best Product Awards for Color Zaurus

In December, the MI-10/10DC Color Zaurus was selected as Best Product for fiscal 1996 by the US specialty magazine Information Display Magazine, two Japanese product information magazines (Dime and Mono Magazine), and the annual product award selected by Nikkei (Nikkei Sangyo Best Product, Best Service).

VCR Production in Malaysia Reaches 10 Million Units

In December, VCR production base Sharp Manufacturing Corporation (M) Sdn. Bhd. (SMM) exceeded a total production of 10 million units. It took only six and a half years to reach 10 million units since production started in June 1990.

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