Sharp plans to open new color printer plant in China

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Sharp Corp. said Monday it plans to strengthen its multifunction-printer business in China by opening a new plant and boosting output of color versions mainly for office use to meet growing demand.

The move will give the company two plants at its complex in Jiangsu Province, where it is already producing office equipment at its No. 1 plant. The new plant will be designated No. 2 when it opens in April.

The No. 2 plant will produce digital multifunction color printers and toner cartridges. It will have an annual output capacity of 250,000 color multifunction printers. Along with the first plant, combined production of printers, including black and white versions, will be 650,000 units, some of which will also be marketed outside China.

With the steady growth of the Chinese economy, the demand for color multifunction printers is expected to surge, and Sharp hopes its efforts boost market share, Nobuyuki Sugano, a director in charge of the Chinese market, said in Tokyo.

Sharp expects demand for color multifunction printers will grow 21.2 percent this year, jumping from 33,000 units in 2011 to 40,000, while demand for black and white printers is expected to stay about the same.

Sugano said that although Sharp had the top share in the black and white printer market in China at about 20 percent in 2010, it was in fifth place in the color printer market that year.

The firm did not specify when, but it hopes to increase sales in its business solution segment in China to ¥40 billion, or about 2.5 times more than 2011 sales.