Sharp to sell Phones in China Starting Around June

Sharp Corp. will start selling cell phones in China before the Beijing Olympics are scheduled to start. Sharp will target the high-end buyers in China’s vast market. Kyocera Corp. withdrew from the Chinese market this month, so Sharp will be the only Japanese company selling handsets in China.

Chief strategist of the equity management department at Daiwa SB Investments, Soichiro Monji, said the path to survival for Japanese cell phone suppliers was either compete overseas or withdraw altogether in light of the maturing domestic market in Japan.

“It (Sharp) is headed in the right direction, but whether it will succeed still carries a question mark,” he said.

“We’ll need to keep watching how the company will fare in China as no other Japanese maker, except for Sony, has succeeded in the mobile business abroad.”

China’s cell phone market is currently dominated by Nokia, followed by Samsung and Motorola. The three companies account for more than 60% of market share.

“There is a growing number of consumers in China who want to buy high-tech handsets, such as those equipped with cameras almost as good as digital cameras, even if they are expensive,” Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said on Friday.

“People want a nice screen especially for the Olympics.”

Sharp is known for its strength in high-tech mobile phone parts such as small to mid-sized liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and small cameras.