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Sony to hand over more control to its profitable image sensor business

Sony is planning to split off its image sensor business in order to give the profitable group more control and accountability.

Published onOctober 6, 2015

sony xperia z5 compact first look aa (3 of 12)

Sony’s Exmor RS image sensors have proven widely popular in the smartphone market, but some of the company’s other divisions, I’m looking at you mobile, have not proven so successful over the past couple of years. In order to promote continued growth in its semiconductor business, Sony has stated that it will split the division off into a separate entity, while still retaining full ownership.

The idea is to allow for more autonomous decision making at Sony’s most profitable division, cutting out the back and forth between management. Sony will still own the company, but the group will be more accountable for their profitability. This move is designed to keep the camera division competitive.

TV and mobile sales have underperformed, according to Sony’s most recent quarterly financial results, and Sony expects that its full-year loss for its mobile division will reach 60 billion yen ($480 million), notable higher than the 39 billion yen ($310 million) loss that it anticipated back in April. However, the company’s image sensor business saw a 164 percent increase in year over year income, keeping the company’s overall profits mostly flat over the past twelve months.

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Exmor RS based cameras have featured in a number of high-end smartphones this year, including the Galaxy S6 series, the LG G4 and Sony’s latest benchmark topping Xperia Z5. Sony’s sensors are also proving popular in the mid-tier and in emerging markets, as companies push towards better camera technology in order to help differentiate themselves from the competition.

Back in April, Sony announced that it would invest a further 45 billion yen ($374 billion) into additional image sensor production capacity. The company is also looking to expand its sensor business into the automotive market. We should expect further announcements about Sony’s plans for its image sensor business in the coming months.

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