Sharp returns to China’s phone market

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SHARP, a subsidiary of Foxconn, returned to the Chinese smartphone market when it released its first new model yesterday as the market needs “fresh air and technologies,” the president of the Japanese firm’s smartphone business said.

Sharp’s return to the domestic market followed those of international brands, including Nokia and BlackBerry, in recent months.

Smartphone sales in the Chinese mainland dipped 0.7 percent in the second quarter from a year ago on weak replacement demand, said research firm IDC or International Data Corp.

“The falling market, full of similar products and lack of innovation, requires fresh air and technologies,” said Luo Zhongsheng, president of Sharp smartphone business.

Sharp’s new model Aquos S2 features a full-screen design that supports better display, photography and games as well as an artificial intelligence system. The company tied up with JD.com to distribute the new model which costs from 2,499 yuan (US$373).

BlackBerry also released new models in Beijing yesterday after returning to the domestic market. Finland-based HMD, which owns the Nokia brand, released an Android model in Beijing earlier this year.

Sharp, which quit the Chinese market in 2013, now has the support of Foxconn’s strong supply and production expertise, analysts said.

With Foxconn’s acquisition, Sharp’s TV sales almost doubled in the second quarter from the previous period, while the industry grew 7.6 percent quarter on quarter, said TrendForce.

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