Nikkei: Sony will subcontract the manufacture of CMOS image sensors to Fujitsu in an arrangement aimed at lowering production costs without revealing proprietary technologies to overseas foundries.
Update: Reuters quotes Nikkei that Sony will begin subcontracting output to Fujitsu as early as the current business year to next March at a pace of several thousand silicon wafers a month and may expand more depending on the impact on its cost base.
Sony is the world's No.6 maker of CMOS sensors with an output capacity equivalent to 16,000 silicon wafers a month, according to the Nikkei. The deal with Fujitsu should allow Sony to meet growing demand for image sensors while keeping production costs in check and safeguarding its proprietary technologies in Japan, the Nikkei business daily reported.
A spokesman for Sony said the electronics giant has been considering outsourcing some image sensor production to meet strong demand driven by growing sales of advanced digital cameras and smartphones, but declined to comment further. A Fujitsu spokesman declined to comment.
Update #2: Jiji Press says that Fujitsu, will undertake 80-90% of the manufacturing process, while Sony will handle the remaining part of the process. Fujitsu willuse its plant in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, central Japan, for the sensors production, according to Jiji sources.