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Sharp Gears Up for Growth

With its savvy marketing, many Americans do not realize that the firm is Japanese

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SHARP Electronics, a Japanese multinational company, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year - and its 30th year in the United States - by doing what has propelled its growth: introducing innovative products.

Its latest offerings include a microwave oven that operates on a one-touch button, a razor-thin color television set that hangs on the wall like a painting and uses a liquid crystal display to give almost perfect visual clarity, and an 8 mm camcorder with two different lenses built into the unit.

Sharp is a world leader in "optoelectronics merging light with electronics. And looking ahead into the 1990s, Sharp executives in the US say the company is positioned to take advantage of its expertise in liquid crystal display (LCD) technology in calculators, television sets, and other products.

Sharp is the world leader in LCDs, selling 35 percent of LCDs worldwide and 70 percent of the thin-film transistor LCDs that are especially compact. Sharp recently introduced an 8.6-inch diagonal color television monitor that is 3 inches deep. The company is also developing a 14-inch monitor. Optoelectronic integrated circuits are being developed that could lead to three-dimensional home television.

Headquartered in Mahwah, N. J., Sharp Electronics Corporation is the US sales and marketing subsidiary of the Osaka-based Sharp Corporation. Last year Sharp garnered global net income of $361 million on net sales of $11.5 billion. Sharp's US operations produced sales of $2.2 billion. Sharp projects that US sales will "be about 2 percent higher in 1992," according to Daniel Infanti, general manager of Sharp's US marketing operations.

Industry analysts say that given the decline in consumer spending, higher US sales would be impressive. In fact, some brokerage houses have lowered Sharp's revenue and earnings forecasts for the fiscal year ending this March. In a report late last year, Nomura Research Institute America Inc., predicts that Sharp's LCD business will expand; Sharp is also expected to do well in semiconductors.

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