Sharp has entered into a manufacturing agreement with Foxconn that will see the Taiwan-based company take a stake of around 10 percent in the Japanese manufacturer, making it the largest third-party shareholder ahead of Nippon Life. Foxconn has invested about ¥67 billion ($809.1 million dollars) of capital into Sharp in return for around 121.65 million new shares. Recently appointed CEO Takashi Okuda said "Until now we have handled all of our R&D and manufacturing, but going forward we will need to include partnerships in our approach," pledging to leverage both companies' strengths to get products to market efficiently.
Foxconn will also take over up to 50 percent of the LCD production at Sharp's plant in Sakai, Osaka, potentially filling the gap left by the recent halving of output. The LCD joint venture will now be owned 46.5 percent by Sharp, the same amount by Foxconn, and 7 percent by Sony. The outside cooperation is quite unusual for a Japanese company, and can be taken as a sign that Okuda recognizes the predicament the nation's manufacturers find themselves in.