Sharp, Renesas, Powerchip plan LCD chip joint venture

Sharp, Renesas, Powerchip plan LCD chip joint venture

Sharp, Renesas and Powerchip are building an LCD chip joint venture.

Sharp, a manufacturer of LCD TVs, is teaming up with chip makers Renesas and Powerchip to combine their LCD chip operations into a new joint venture, the companies announced.

The new company, Renesas SP Drivers Inc., will be established on April 1 and will specialize in LCD driver and controller chips for small and mid-sized LCDs, the companies said.

The new company will be headquartered in Tokyo and capitalized at YEN 5 billion (US$46.7 million). Renesas will invest 55 percent of the capital, with 25 percent coming from Sharp and 20 percent from Powerchip.

Sharp and Renesas will combine their design and development operations for the new joint venture, while Powerchip will handle the manufacture of the chips.

Sharp is one of the world's premier LCD screen makers, while Renesas is a chip design powerhouse from Japan. Taiwan's Powerchip manufactures memory chips such as DRAM (dynamic RAM) and flash memory, which are produced in huge volume. Its experience of volume manufacturing of memory products will help in the market for LCD chips, where there is also high demand.

Sharp will transfer its business operations related to small and mid-sized LCD products to the new company by the end of its 2008 fiscal year, while Renesas will make the transfer by April, the companies said. Sharp's 2008 fiscal year ends March 31, 2009, according to its Web site.

The new joint venture company will not invest in chip factories, instead farming out production to Powerchip, the companies said.

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