Sharp Returns to India with Reliance Retail
Retailer to get rights for Japanese co’s products for 3 years other than phones
Kolkata: Sharp is re-entering India in an alliance with Reliance Industries, with the Japanese electronic brand’s current owner Foxconn concluding a distribution and product development arrangement with Reliance Retail, the retailing arm of the country’s most valuable company.
Two senior industry executives said Reliance Retail has the rights for the Sharp brand for television and home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and air-conditioners for three years, and the arrangement will be extended if the response is robust.
Reliance will sell Sharp through its consumer electronics chain of more than 2,000 Reliance Digital stores, and will also distribute them to other retailers through its distribution arm that currently sells only mobile phones. The Sharp range will be manufactured in India at Foxconn plants and Reliance has just made a soft-launch of the Sharp air-conditioners, with two models. The portfolio will be expanded and will include newer categories such as the 8K television, which no other manufacturer has launched in India yet.
However, Foxconn has retained the rights for Sharp
smartphones in India. These will be launched by the yearend, the executives said.
Reliance Digital CEO Brian Bade said the retailer has entered into a long-term exclusive partnership for the Sharp brand across all channels. An email sent to Foxconn did not elicit any response until the publication of this report.
An industry executive said that even though Sharp had exited India by end-2015 due to global losses and an eventual sell-out to Foxconn, the brand has huge recall value and, hence, Reliance Retail wants to capitalise on it.