A new report says Sharp’s decision to buy a plant from Japan Display may have come at the behest of Apple.
Sharp’s decision to purchase a smartphone screen plant from Japan Display came at the behest of Apple, a major client, with hopes of transforming the facility into a key link in its long-term strategy on displays.
Earlier this week it emerged that Japan Display has sold one of its factories to Sharp for $377 million. The ailing display manufacturer has previously been bailed out by Apple on numerous occasions to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The new report says that Sharp “received a request from a customer” that it buy the factory:
Japan Display on Friday said it is selling its halted Hakusan plant and the land under it to Sharp for 41.2 billion yen ($390 million), and part of the related equipment to a “customer” — meaning Apple — for 30.1 billion yen. Sharp will take control of the facility by October, and will resume the production of liquid crystal displays for iPhones there.
Japan Display will reportedly use the money from the sale to pay back Apple what it owes for a facility built several years ago and paid for by Apple. The report notes that Apple is likely trying to secure a stable supply of LCD displays, which, although eschewed from Apple’s flagship lineup, are still very important to its iPhone SE.