Good news for U.S. consumers, the smart TV market is about to get more competitive after Sharp announced plans to resume selling TVs in America before the end of this year.
The Japanese firm quit the U.S. in 2015 when crumbling finances threatened its very existence. It was bailed out by Hon Hai Precision — the Taiwanese manufacturing firm better known as Foxconn — in a $3.5 billion deal that attracted controversy inside Japan, where a home-backed agreement had been preferred by many. Still, under new management, it is seeking expansion to continue its rebound.
Sharp sold its license to China’s Hisense when it exited, and this week it said that it has struck a deal to regain it, although the terms have not been disclosed.
That relationship is certainly frosty: Sharp sued the Chinese firm, which is state-owned, alleging that it had put Sharp’s badge on sub-quality products. The suit was dropped at the beginning of last year. Sharp said at the time that it intended to return to the North American market itself, and now it has the deal it required.
Sources told Reuters that the firm may also be considering other markets in the Americas beyond the U.S, Hisense also acquired its rights for that region, but the U.S. market is obviously the headline expansion.
For now, Sharp said it will bring TVs to market that combine 5G, AIoT — a buzzy acronym that stands for ‘artificial intelligence of things’ — and 8K/4K picture quality. We’ll have to wait for more on what the exact product line-up will look like.