Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch quote Sony Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka telling reporters at the company headquarters in Tokyo: "Even if manufacturing stays in Japan, (our image sensors) are competitive". Sony plans to keep its image sensor manufacturing operations in Japan despite the yen's persistent strength, which is driving electronics makers overseas for better profit margins.
The image senosr business has been affected by the recent flooding in Thailand, where Sony has an assembly plant. The company has said it is temporarily shifting some of its Thai sensor manufacturing operations to Japan. Yoshioka also said the earnings outlook for his Professional, Device and Solutions Group for the current fiscal year "will be tough," due to March 11 natural disasters in Japan, the flooding in Thailand and the strong yen.
Bloomberg reports that Sony will create a division for image-sensor modules used in smartphones and tablet computers on Dec. 1. The image sensors are also named as one of the main focus areas for the company.
After floods in Thailand halted image sensor output at factories in the country, production will be shifted to a plant in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan, in the beginning of next year, Sony spokesman Hiroshi Okubo said. The effect of the floods "wasn’t as bad" as the company estimated three weeks ago, Yoshioka said.
Update: The full Wall Street Journal article is unlocked now, more content is available:
As part of efforts to improve sales, Sony will try to sell more camera modules, which combine image sensors with optical lenses and other technologies, instead of selling image sensors as individual components, Yoshioka said.
Sony said last month it will increase its output of the sensors at its factory in Nagasaki prefecture, southern Japan.