Sharp Corp will begin production of light emitting diodes (LED) backlights for its liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions this year at a cost of 15 billion yen ($160.9 million), the Nikkei business daily said.

Sharp, which is also the world's third-largest solar cell maker behind First Solar and Suntech Power Holdings Co, has decided to introduce LED backlighting for nearly all its LCD TVs by next spring, the paper said.

Sharp plans to produce blue LEDs at a pair of Hiroshima Prefecture semiconductor plants capable of churning out about 5 billion units a year, close to one-third the amount used by the company, the daily added.

The Osaka firm's business model now calls for taking control of the entire manufacturing process -- from production of all key components to assembly, Nikkei said.

($1=93.22 Yen)

(Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)