Japanese tech major Sharp Corporation is looking to set up a display fabrication unit in India, possibly the largest outside its home country, and has approached the Ministry of Electronics and IT with the proposal. 

Display refers to screens used in television, monitors, and video conferencing facilities, among other devices.

There are no display fab units in India, which imports the product. 

The expected investment, as per market analysts, could be $3-6 billion, with land requirement running into 1,000-odd acres. 

The plan reportedly is to set up a Gen10+ facility — the latest high-end type — to manufacture screens that can be used across all devices, except mobile phones. The factories, which use enormous 2,940 x 3,370 mm glass substrates, require a high capital outlay. 

Demand for big TV screen

Globally, as well as in India, there is a growing preference for TVs with a larger screen. On average, TV sizes are growing grow by 1-1.5 inches per year, and the demand for TVs with 65-inch or larger screens — the so-called Gen10+ flat panel displays (FPDs) — is growing. 

“Sharp plans a multi-billion display fab in India, and is seeking partnerships and land. Some 1,000 acres is under discussion,“ a ministry source told businessline

The investment, under the India Semiconductor Mission, will look to boost local manufacturing and reduce imports, through technology and state collaborations, the source said. 

“We are yet to get a detailed or written proposal. That should come shortly,” the official said, adding this could potentially be “amongst the largest manufacturing facilities for the company outside of Japan”. 

“The initial impression is this facility will also be leveraged for exports over the years,” the source said. 

 At meetings between Sharp representatives and senior government functionaries, the company said it is exploring opportunities in various states in India. Local partnerships could also be explored. 

Pending Starlink approval  

According to the official, security clearance for Starlink, a super high-speed internet broadband service from billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is yet to come through. 

Although the Department of Telecom has granted in-principle approval for the project (based on its commercial aspects), clearances from other ministries are expected given the associated security issues, the official said. 

Starlink will compete with Eutelsat OneWeb’s subsidiary OneWeb India (backed by Bharti Group, and Reliance’s Jio Satellite Communications) and has a global joint venture with SES to access the latest medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellite technology, which can offer gigabit, a fibre-like service, from space.