[opendtv] A Gamble on L.C.D. TV's Meant Survival for Sharp

  • From: Monty Solomon <monty@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: undisclosed-recipient:;
  • Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 09:07:21 -0500

A Gamble on L.C.D. TV's Meant Survival for Sharp

The New York Times
March 22, 2006

OSAKA, Japan - In corporate Japan, companies have long preferred to 
run with the pack. But some are now learning to act like lone wolves.

Take Sharp, which for decades looked like other big Japanese 
electronics makers, producing every device under the sun from rice 
cookers to semiconductors. But when the company faced collapse eight 
years ago, its newly installed president, Katsuhiko Machida, 
jettisoned unprofitable products and bet Sharp's future on a single, 
then-unproven new product: flat-panel televisions using a screen 
technology called liquid-crystal display.

The gamble paid off. Sharp now reaps record profits as a leader in 
the booming global market for L.C.D. televisions. "Survival today 
means innovating and doing things that no one else does," Mr. Machida 
said. "This is a lesson not only for Sharp but for all of Japan."

It is a lesson that the business world here has apparently taken to 
heart, as a wave of corporate revamping and innovation breathes new 
life into Japan's long-moribund economy. And as these lone wolves 
multiply, they may help Japan play a stronger role in global growth 
as the world's second-largest economy.

Companies from supermarket chains to camera makers are moving away 
from traditional conformity. They have gotten more aggressive about 
containing costs after spending Japan's lost decade of stagnant 
economic growth closing factories, shrinking payrolls and writing off 
debt. More companies are also acting like Sharp, trying to set 
themselves apart from rivals with unique products and services.



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