Rise of smartphone demand leads sony increase of image sensor production

Due to the rise in market demand for smartphones, Sony Corporation announced that they would start full-blown production of their image sensor lineup starting this October up to the 2nd quarter of next year. This announcement was made by Yasuhiro Ueda, President of Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation.

Ueda said that the improving business environment for their customers propelled the move. The announcement was made in a news conference at the company’s sensor factory in the Kumamoto region, southern Japan.

Sony’s chip-making subsidiary has spent the past year running just under its full capabilities. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, acquiring 40% of the world’s market.

Sony suffered years of financial setbacks mainly due to the increasing competition in consumer electronics. The image sensors helped the company mount a comeback but the decreasing demand for smartphones prompted Sony to cut production in the 4th quarter of last year up to the 1st quarter of this year.

But the demand for such chip – which converts light to electronic signals – is now increasing again. Because of this, Ueda targets a rise from 70,000 to 73,000 silicon wafers (excluding outsourced products) which is the full capacity of all of Sony’s image sensor factories.

The rising demand for Sony’s sensors also is a product of the company’s goal to diversify its client base. “Our client portfolio is getting less reliant on specific customers, as we are adding Chinese smartphone makers that are recently thriving,” said Ueda who adds that their clients also experienced both success and failure recently. Apple and Samsung Electronics are two of the most prominent clients of Sony.

Samsung, who’s currently affected by the issues surrounding their Galaxy Note 7, has their profit rising to nearly 50% in the first-half of the year thanks to customer’s warm welcome of the Galaxy S7 phones. Apple too has its ups and downs: the iPhone suffered its first sales decline but then followed by the overwhelming success of the iPhone 7.

Ueda also mentions that the recovery of the Kumamoto factory, which suffered from a series of earthquakes earlier this year, is also a factor for the increase in production.

More information can be found at: REUTERS.

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