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Sony Mobile denies sale or exit from mobile business

2015/10/22 18:14:47

Photo courtesy of Sony Mobile.

Taipei, Oct. 22 (CNA) The mobile unit of Japan's Sony Corp. denied reports Thursday that the company may begin looking at potential buyers or exiting from the mobile business if it fails to turn a profit in 2016.

Jonathan Lin (林志遠), general manager of Sony Mobile's Taiwan branch, said Sony Mobile CEO Hiroki Totoki denied the rumors during a meeting with him in Japan on Oct. 19, saying the company has no plans to withdraw from the mobile industry.

"On the contrary, Sony Mobile will offer phones that will have better screens, improved cameras and will be more energy efficient to enable a better user experience," Lin said at a press event to launch the Xperia Z5 Premium flagship phone in Taiwan.

The Japanese company will also allocate more marketing resources in Taiwan to boost its local sales, as evidenced by its new endorsement contract with Taiwanese Mandopop king Jay Chou (周杰倫), Lin said.

Sony Mobile aims to grab a 30 percent share of Taiwan's high-end Android phones that retail over NT$15,000 (US$462) when its new Xperia Z5 Premium goes on sale in November, which would rank Sony Mobile as the top vendor of that market segment, Lin said.

The Xperia Z5 Premium, unveiled globally on the sidelines of Europe's largest consumer electronics show, IFA, is touted by Sony Mobile as the world's first 4K smartphone with a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

The Xperia Z5 Premium will carry a starting price of NT$25,900, higher than any other Sony Mobile phone since Sony acquired shares of Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson in the joint venture between the two companies in 2012.

Lin's remarks came after Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai told Reuters and other media outlets in early October that the company would continue with the mobile business "as long as we are on track with the scenario of breaking even from next year onwards."

"Otherwise, we haven't eliminated the consideration of alternative options,"the Reuters report said, adding that Sony phones including its Xperia-branded smartphones made up only 17.5 percent of the Japan market and less than 1 percent in North America last year.

Sony's mobile arm is expected to book a 60 billion Japanese yen (US$480 million) loss this year, much higher than the 39 billion yen that it forecast in April.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
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