“Japan’s Sharp Corp said it expected revenue from Chinese smartphone makers to increase fivefold in the six months to September after a jump in smartphone panel orders helped boost operating profit by 55 percent in the first quarter,” Sophie Knight reports for Reuters. “Sharp, which supplies panels for Apple Inc’s iPhone, said increased demand from major customers led it to earn an operating profit of 2.1 billion yen (12 million pounds) in its LCD panel business after posting a 9.5 billion yen loss on the unit in the same quarter last year.”

“A big part of that recovery was due to demand from rising stars in China’s smartphone market. Sharp’s president, Kozo Takahashi, said the company expected revenue from Chinese handset makers to swell to 100 billion yen in the first half of the business year to Sept. 30,” Knight reports. “Demand for its LCD panels has been a boon for Sharp as it restructures to recover from a massive 545.4 billion yen net loss in the year to March 2013, with the panel division now accounting for 46 percent of operating profit and a third of sales.”

“Sources with knowledge of the matter say that Sharp uses the Kameyama No.2 factory to make panels for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s RedMi phone and its RedMi 5.5 inch phablet. Xiaomi has grown rapidly to become the world’s fifth-largest smartphone vendor, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics,” Knight reports. “Sharp is said to have also started making panels for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 at its Kameyama No.1 factory with the new model scheduled for release around September.”

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