Foxconn/Sharp Aim to Grab iPhone Lens Module Business from Apple
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "The False Narrative that Apple's Supply Chain in Taiwan won't move to the U.S. under any Circumstances." In that report I noted that some Chinese iPhone supply chain players have said off-record that they may not want to set up shop in the U.S. to support a Foxconn iPhone plant. I further noted that "Foxconn has been trying to expand their relationship with Apple forever and they'll be able to find other supply chain players to come to the U.S. and where they can't find suppliers of some kind they'll work with U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses to fill the gap, if not open a new division of their own."
Foxconn has been exploring a way to open an iPhone plant in the U.S. since Apple's CEO made the request back in June of this year. They may have found a weakness in the supply chain that they could fill. According to a new Japanese report, Sharp, backed by Foxconn Electronics, is likely to increase its investment in Japan-based lens module maker Kantatsu in order to compete with Taiwan-based Largan Precision to secure lens module orders from Apple for iPhone devices."
The speculation came after Sharp's president Tai Jeng-wu delivered recently a letter to its employees saying that Sharp should vertically integrate its camera module business through investments and acquisitions of core equipment and manufacturing partners.
Kantatsu is capable of producing of over 12-megapixel camera modules with a yield rate that is comparable to Largan Precision, said the Chinese-language Liberty Times. Sharp currently holds a 44% stake in Kantatsu.
Apple's current iPhone 7 uses 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras according Apple's own specifications.
While Apple currently does not hold any stake in Kantatsu, it did provide the Japan-based lens module maker with a batch of equipment for manufacturing upgrades in early 2016, said the paper.
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