Sharp Commemorates 110th Anniversary
Foundation and outline of Company
On September 15, Sharp Corporation (hereinafter “Sharp”) commemorates its 110th anniversary. Founder Tokuji Hayakawa established a metalworking shop in Tokyo on this day 110 years ago in 1912. Later he invented the “Ever Ready Sharp Pencil,” a twist-type mechanical pencil that would later become the origin of the corporate brand.
Sharp is a worldwide developer of innovative products and core technologies that play a key role in shaping the future of electronics. Sharp sets its business vision as “Changing the World with 8K+5G and AIoT”. 8K is an ultra-high definition next-generation video standard with four times the resolution (7,680 x 4,320 pixels: 33.18 million pixel resolution) of 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels: approximately 8.29 million pixel resolution), and 16 times that of present-day 2K hi-vision broadcasts (1,920 x 1080 pixels: approximately 2.07 million pixels). 8K technology creates images that reveal a world beyond our everyday reality and gives birth to thrilling new discoveries. 5G is the next generation of mobile data transmission. As well as significant advances in data transmission speed and capacity, it delivers ultra-low latency and multi-terminal connectivity. 5G expands communication potential to facilitate all-round connectivity between users and all manner of devices. AIoT is Sharp’s unique synthesis of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things), a tactile and intuitive approach created through the application of cloud connectivity and AI to a full suite of familiar everyday appliances, transforming devices from useful tools to active partners in addressing the needs of individual households and society as a whole.
To achieve its vision, Sharp uses its three core brand businesses, Smart Life, 8K Ecosystem, and ICT, along with two device businesses, Display Devices and Electronic Devices that support them, in an integrated fashion in pursuit of “One Sharp” business. Sharp delivers featured products for household use such as AQUOS brand TVs and smartphones, together with Plasmacluster-equipped air purifiers, refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, and Healsio brand ovens and anhydrous cooking pots for kitchen use. Sharp products are also widely used in office scenes, led by multi-function printers, monitors, interactive display systems and notebook PCs etc. Systems integrating services with hard and soft elements are also introduced by the company, known as COCORO+ services, together with other 8K+5G systems and office use systems etc.
Based on its business creed “Sincerity and Creativity,” and founder Tokuji Hayakawa’s ideal to "Make products that other companies want to imitate," Sharp has continued to introduce unique products and solutions including world-firsts and Japan-firsts to contribute to the development of society. As a result, Sharp has reached many milestones over its history of 110 years with its products and solutions. Some examples are: Introducing AQUOS brand LCD TVs from 2001 and shipping 500 million units by end of September 2020, developing photovoltaic power generation since 1959 and on for over 60 years, introducing its featured Plasmacluster air purifying technology on October 2000 and achieving 100 million units shipped worldwide by October 2021, developing the world’s first all-transistor calculator in 1964 and celebrating 50 years in calculators business in 2014, developing mobile phones since 1994 and delivering many featured products such as the industry-first camera-equipped mobile phone in 2000, developing convection microwave ovens since 1961 and introducing Japan’s first mass production model in 1962, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2022, introducing its first multi-copier in 1972 and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, and most recently, starting productions of face masks from February 2020 and reaching total 300 million shipment by November 2021.
Such activities over all these years have been recognized by various worldwide institutes, including IEEE*1, the world's largest academic society for electrical, electronics, information, and telecommunications engineering, recognizing three individual developments by Sharp as IEEE Milestones*2, namely “Pioneering Work on Electronic Calculators”, “Commercialization and Industrialization of Solar Cells” and “Sharp 14-inch Thin-Film-Transistor Liquid-Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) for TV”.
Pioneering Work on Electronic Calculators (2005)
Commercialisation and Industrialisation of Solar Cells (2010)
Sharp 14-inch Thin-Film-Transistor Liquid-Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) for TV (2014)
*1 The IEEE is the world's largest non-profit association of electrical and electronics engineers, with headquarters in the US. Through its more than 409,000 members worldwide, the IEEE plays a leading role in technical areas ranging from computer engineering, electronics, and telecommunications to electric power, aerospace engineering, and biomedical technology.
*2 The IEEE established the IEEE Milestone program in 1983 to honor historic achievements—among significant innovations made in the fields of electrical, electronics, information, and telecommunications engineering—that have been recognized as having contributed to the betterment of society and the advancement of industry.
Footsteps to an Electronics Manufacturer: Development of Radio and TV
In 1923, the founder experienced the Great Kanto Earthquake and transferred to Osaka. Searching for new opportunities, he set his eyes on the start of radio broadcast in Japan, and succeeded in assembling the Japan-first crystal radio set in April 1925. Later, in 1953, upon the start of TV broadcasting, Sharp started Japan-first mass production of TV sets, leading it to develop into a comprehensive electronics company.
Foundation of New Business Pillars: Calculator and LCD
Seeking for a new pillar of its business, Sharp promoted development of calculators applying technologies for computers. Calculators continued to evolve seeking smaller size and lighter weight with technology innovation in transistors and adoption of LCD display. This was when Sharp set its corporate strategy to develop key devices for featured products inside the company. Especially the development of LCD continued to evolve into a key device for various application in display technology and other areas, becoming its main business pillar up to today.
Founder Tokuji Hayakawa (right) testing a radio sample
Basis of Environment-Conscious Development: Photovoltaic Power Generation
Based on the idea of the founder “If we could find a way of generating electricity from limitless solar heat and light, that would benefit humankind to an extent we can scarcely imagine.”, Sharp began research of solar cells. After succeeding in production of a prototype in 1959, mass production started in 1963. Ever since, for 60 years Sharp has led the photovoltaic power generation market with development and sales of PV systems for home, facilities, EPC*3, and contributed to the expansion of renewable energy.
*3 Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. An overall seamless service from solar system installation to maintenance.
Developing Featured Technology for Contribution to Healthcare: Plasmacluster
When Sharp started to focus on developing air purifying technology, its researchers came up with a unique idea later named Plasmacluster to purify air. Plasmacluster ions are the same type of positive and negative ions that occur in nature. This proprietary Sharp technology purifies air, and it has been proven safe to humans no matter the ion concentration. Highly concentrated levels of Plasmacluster ions have been proven to purify air, eliminate odors, moisten facial skin, and reduce static electricity.
Plasmacluster technology is adopted in B2B products and facilities in addition to B2C products in over 100 countries and areas throughout the world. The efficacy of Plasmacluster ions have been approved by various institutes worldwide, including Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, and China etc.
110th anniversary logo
Sharp has created a 110th anniversary logo as a commemoration and a sign of gratitude toward the support from our stakeholders over these 110 years. The gently changing colors express transformation to a and green and blue colors represents the image of ESG business.
Business Transformation to Re-emphasize ESG
On this 110th anniversary year, Sharp has introduced a new management system to realize transformation to re-emphasize on ESG and raise its social value and revitalize its brand for sustainable growth.
Management emphasizing on ESG will be carried out under four major policies: 1) Further strengthen healthcare related business, 2) Contribution to carbon neutral, 3) Management based on HITO (people), and 4) True global company.
(1) Further strengthen healthcare related business
With current growing social concerns such as against impact of spread of COVID-19 and aging society, interest in health and cleanliness are increasing. Toward such demands, Sharp will introduce products, services, and solutions centering preventive care, such as by strengthening sensing functions installed in its home appliances, TVs and mobile devices, developing unique healthcare related sensors, and creating new healthcare related devices, along with carrying out partnership and M&A aggressively.This way, a system will be formed that measures people’s health related data naturally in various scenes and provide a solution optimum for each individual. Eventually, Sharp aims to realize people to lead a self-directing healthy living.
(2) Contribution to carbon neutral
Sharp will contribute to carbon neutral by reducing its GHG emission and expanding renewable energy in society.
Under its long-term environmental vision “Sharp Eco Vision 2050”, Sharp declares to realize net zero emission of GHG emission through its activities. As a mid-term target, Sharp aims to reduce 60% GHG emission by 2035. To realize this target, Sharp will further expand its energy solution business by developing business in aerospace and automotive appliances, expand PPA*4 business, and accelerate research of latest technology solar cells such as perovskite for practical use. By such means, by 2030, Sharp expects to contribute in reduction of GHG emission equal to approximately 12 times emission of its in-house activity, and contribute to carbon neutrality of society.
*4 Power Purchase Agreement. A business model designing, installing, operating and maintaining a photovoltaic system on a customer’s property and purchasing the system's electric output.
(3) Management based on HITO (people)
Personnel system will be further innovated based on four perspectives: Hybrid personnel with multiple professions, Innovation-cultivating environment, Talent-based optimum personnel stationing, and Opportunity for growth provided to excellent members. The initials spell out HITO, meaning “people” in Japanese.
Specifically, performance-based personnel system to support young talents, attractive work treatment system to gather professional personnel, fulfilled structure to support growth of personnel, and rejuvenating and speed-up of decision process will be executed to cultivate and young and spirited corporate culture.
(4) True Global Company
Sharp aims to expand global business by strengthening sales strategy in each region and promote management innovation. While already being recognized as a strong electronics brand in Japan, it seeks to further develop its brand worldwide to contribute to society with its featured products, solutions, services and technology.
Specifically, development of global personnel and acceleration of partnership and M&A with global companies will be promoted, while introducing new products with latest technology simultaneously worldwide, and strengthening local-adapting products and services to raise the brand on a global scale.
110th Anniversary Promotion
To celebrate this important milestone, Sharp is offering one lucky business in New Zealand the chance to win an office bundle worth over RRP$8,000! Prizes include a Sharp PN70HC1E 70" Interactive Whiteboard, a Sharp Air Purifier and one hour of free ice cream for all your staff, at your office, our shout! Click here to enter the draw.