Hisense, the China-based TV manufacturer which markets TVs under the Hisense and Sharp brands in the United States, let the new leadership of Sharp Corp. and the rest of the world know Tuesday that it is still the licensee to the Sharp brand for TVs in North and South America.

The announcement came in response to a report in the Wall Street Journal that upon taking control of the Japanese electronics giant, the new global CEO Tai Jeng-wu said: “We want to polish Sharp’s brand value by ourselves and make it shine globally.”

Tai reportedly went on to say that he hopes to cancel licensing deals for the Sharp brand on various consumer electronics categories, which the former management had made last year in an effort to prop up the value of the company.

In reaction, Hisense USA’s communications team released “a proactive statement” Tuesday saying: “Hisense has not been contacted to discuss altering the terms of its licensing agreement with Sharp. Hisense has successfully resuscitated the Sharp TV brand in the Americas and has no intention of ending its agreement with Sharp early.  Over the course of the past year Hisense has made the Sharp TV brand relevant again in the Americas with the introduction of 27 new televisions including the brand’s first curved and HDR [high dynamic range] sets, all of which are built with Hisense’s superior technology.”

Last year, Hisense acquired licensing rights to the Sharp name and various other trademarks for use on TVs it is now marketing in North and South America.

Tai, who was installed as CEO after Foxconn completed the acquisition of controlling interest (60 percent) in Sharp this month for $3.9 billion, has reportedly begun a large-scale corporate restructuring and renewed brand-building efforts.

The new CEO’s goal is to restore “the brand’s image as a global provider of innovative consumer electronics.”

Read more on the use of the Sharp brand for TVs in North America after the jump:

Last April, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou said he was moving forward to acquire Sharp because of its history of developing innovative products. Currently the company is producing advanced microwave ovens and air-purifiers and continues to be a major producer of display panels. Its customer list is topped by Apple, which uses Sharp panels for its iPhone and iPad products.

Gou has also said that he intends to use some of Sharp’s panel manufacturing assets to produce OLED displays in addition to the LCD technologies the original company pioneered.

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Tai underscored Foxconn’s intention of rebuilding the Japanese electronics company this week, saying Sharp will invest aggressively in research and development with Foxconn contributing its substantial manufacturing resources and parts procurement advantages.

The restructuring will also involve layoffs of thousands of employees, mainly from overseas companies, the company said.

Hisense acquired a license to Sharp’s North and South American TV businesses for $23.7 million last July, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The length of the deal was believed to be five years, but no renewal rights were known.

Hisense, which is based in Qingdao, with U.S. headquarters in Suwanee, GA, purchased all equity and assets of Sharp’s TV factory in Mexico and gained the rights to use the “Sharp” brand name and all of its channel resources in the two regions.

Sharp’s former management also licensed the use of the Sharp brand to Universal Media Corp. of Slovakia for use on TVs marketed and sold in Europe.

By Greg Tarr


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