SoftBank Plans to Acquire Part of Sharp Plant in Osaka Prefecture

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of Sharp

OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Sharp Corp. said Friday that it has signed a basic agreement to grant telecommunications carrier SoftBank Corp. exclusive negotiating rights for the partial sale of its Sakai plant in Osaka Prefecture.

Sharp will halt production at the Sakai plant by the end of September as it scales down its liquid crystal display business.

SoftBank plans to take over about 440,000 square meters, or about 60%, of the plant site and build a large data center for the development of generative artificial intelligence.

It aims to start construction this autumn and put the data center into full operation in 2025.

The price for the section of the plant site will be decided later.

SoftBank plans to operate the data center on its own, while allowing external organizations such as universities and research institutions to use it.

Sharp and SoftBank will also consider collaborating on AI-related businesses.

Sharp had already agreed to begin talks with another major telecommunications carrier, KDDI Corp., and others to establish an AI data center elsewhere on the Sakai plant site.