Sharp is reportedly in talks with Apple to regain control of its Kameyama Plant No. 1, which is currently used to manufacture displays for the iPhone.
In 2012, Apple spent approximately $1 billion to convert Sharp’s Kameyama Plant No. 1 from large TV panels to an iPhone display manufacturing plant. After the contribution, Apple was the owner of the plant’s equipment.
According to a report from Nikkei, the plant is currently running at 90% capacity to produce displays for Apple’s next-generation iPhone. This gives Sharp some flexibility while negotiating, since there is still a couple of months left before the natural cycle of iPhone display production begins slowing down.
By taking a leadership role in running the plant, Sharp apparently seeks to diversify its customer base. Being able to supply panels to Chinese smartphone manufacturers, for example, would make Sharp less dependent on Apple. The U.S. technology giant is said to be demanding that the Japanese company not supply panels to Samsung, Apple’s biggest smartphone rival.
Sharp is looking to regain control of the display manufacturing plant so that they do not have to be as dependent on Apple and the iPhone.
Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone in the fall. The iPhone 6 is rumoured to come in two larger sizes, 4.7 and 5.5-inches respectively. The company is expected to announce the long-rumoured health and fitness-focused iWatch alongside the iPhone 6.