Sharp Said to Mull Exit From Mobile-Phone Deal With Foxconn

Sharp Corp. is considering ending a contract with Foxconn Technology Group under which the Taiwanese manufacturer makes Sharp-branded phones for sale in China, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Sharp has had disappointing sales since the contract started last year and is focusing on the domestic market, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The company is also considering reducing its solar business in the U.K., the person said.

“It is not announced by the company,” said Miyuki Nakayama, a spokeswoman for Osaka, Japan-based Sharp. “I cannot comment on business with specific companies.”

Laura Liu, spokeswoman for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Foxconn’s Taipei-based flagship, declined to comment on the company’s relationship with its contract-manufacturing customers.

Kyodo News earlier reported Sharp has suspended collaboration with Foxconn in mobile phones and is considering halting its manufacturing operation of solar batteries in the U.K.

“Foxconn has never had a mobile-phone partnership with Sharp. We had discussions a long time ago and there was no follow-up,” Liu said in response to reports that Foxconn ended a mobile-phone cooperation with the Japanese company.

Sharp, which sells Aquos smartphones, fell 0.7 percent to 297 yen at the close in Tokyo. Shares have declined 2 percent this year. The company isn’t among the top five mobile vendors in China, according to researcher Canalys.

Sharp is considering a photocopier-business partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co., a person familiar with the situation said yesterday. The companies are still discussing the terms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

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