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Sharp: Deputy MD, Calls In His Lawyers When Asked About Sales

By David Richards | Friday | 03/06/2016

Senior management from Sharp Australia who have just returned from a trip to Japan, to discuss among several issues, the fate of the local subsidiary, are not saying whether Australian operation is going to be spared the axe following the takeover of the Sharp Corporation by Foxconn.

Joe Constantino the Deputy Managing Director of Sharp Australia who went to Japan last week, appears to have become extremly sensitive to questions about the local subsidiaries performance and its future.

When we sent an email to Constantino recently one of the questions we asked was for an explanation as to why sales at Sharp Australia "fell in the consumer market from $95M in 2010 to less than $30M in 2016, under his management".

Mr Costantino did not reply but his lawyers did. In a letter to 4Square Media they wrote "Mr Constantino received an unsolicited email from you. Please refrain from sending unsolicited communications to Mr Costantino in future and direct any communications in relation to Sharp Australia Pty Ltd (Sharp Australia) or Mr Costantino to our attention".

Neither Constantino or his lawyers have denied that consumer sales at Sharp Australia have slumped.

His lawyers have also tried to claim that the performance and operations of Sharp Corporation Australia have no correlation to the Sharp Corporation despite the Sharp Corporation owning 100% of the shares in SHA.

ChannelNews understands that following the exit of Sharp Australia from the TV market, Sharp sales in 2016 could fall further.

The Sharp Corporation posted a second straight annual loss of more than US$2.3B recently, this was the fifth straight year of losses. An initial review of the company by new owner Foxconn revealed a level of inefficiency throughout and performance described as sub-par said the Wall Street Journal.

What is not known is whether this description applies to the Australian operation which is now struggling in the appliance market due in part to a lack of range.

In comparison Sharp in the USA is witnessing a major uplift after Hisense took over their ailing TV business and a former Sharp TV manufacturing plant in Mexico.

Where Australia simply threw in the towel and got out of the TV market, Sharp in the US cut a deal with Chinese Company Hisense who are at the expense of Sharp Australia are now the third largest supplier of discount TV's in Australia.

Within weeks Hisense had ramped up production, logistics, and fulfilment and are now challenging brands such as Samsung, LG and Panasonic.

The 1.3-million-square-foot factory doubled its efficiency within a few months of operation after it moved from being under Sharp management.

It is now Hisense's largest TV manufacturing hub outside of China.

Like Sharp was years ago both in Australia, Japan and globally, Hisense is today a major player in the global and domestic TV markets, holding the No.3 TV position behind Samsung and LG in 2015 and occupying the top spot in China, with sales revenues hitting $15.25 billion last year.

On the other hand, Sharp Australia has gone from being one of the top two TV brands in Australia and a household name in appliance to being out of the TV market and struggling in the appliance market.

Both former staff and observers, with inside knowledge of the Companies operations, claim the decline was due to poor management, a lack of investment in marketing and a lack of digital marketing expertise.

Unlike Sharp Hisense aggressively outlined plans to achieve the number three TV brand position in the USA by 2018 at the 2016 International CES.

Combined with Sharp USA's TV business, Hisense aims at doubling its U.S. market share within the next three years.

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