Sony has no plans to sell or shut down its smartphone business, believing the unit to be an important strategic asset in its efforts to sell other products such as televisions and gaming equipment.
At its peak, Sony commanded a nine per cent share of the global mobile phone market.
However, in 2019, it is a minor player in the smartphone space, commanding a market share of less than one per cent, with Europe and Japan its main markets.
Mobile is the only loss-making venture at the Japanese electronics giant, losing 97.1 billion Yen last year at a time when the company was recording record profits. This has led to calls from some investors to get rid of the division – a course of action that is being resisted by CEO Kenichiro Yoshida has dismissed these calls.
“We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable,” he reportedly said. “And younger generations no longer watch TV. Their first touch point is smartphone.”
He sees Sony Mobile is strategically important not just because of the value it can add to the rest of the company’s electronics portfolio but also its strategic importance in the 5G era. Sony is one of the top three vendors in Japan and has continued to launch flagship devices, most notably the Sony Xperia 1.
It could also add more gaming features that would appeal to its PlayStation audience.
Despite this, there have been moves to cut costs. It has shut down its Chinese manufacturing facility in Beijing and plans to cut the workforce in half. It is hoped that these measures will return the company to profitability from 2020 onwards.