Sony has withdrawn its mobile business from certain regions worldwide to focus on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Europe. According to a slide shown during its recent corporate strategy meeting, among the list of non-focus and defocused regions include Southeast Asia, South Korea and Australia. It also ceased operations at its plant in Beijing in March this year. Additionally, Sony expects to reduce operating expenditure by 50% and overall cost by 57% during its 2020 financial year.
This comes after Sony integrated all its consumer electronics and professional solutions businesses into a segment known as Electronics Products and Solutions (EP&S), covering TV, camera, audio and mobile, during its 2018 financial year (FY 2018) ended 31 March 2019. Sales for its mobile communications segment dipped from US$6.61 billion to US$4.55 billion during FY 2018, while it witnessed an operating loss of approximately US$89 million during the same period. Sony predicts EP&S sales for FY 2019 to drop by 3% to US$74 million, particularly in the sales of smartphone units.
Sony said during the meeting that the integration aims to optimise its business structure and enhance efficiency, strengthen existing businesses including mobile, as well as facilitate and revitalise the movement of human capital across its businesses. The company is also nurturing new businesses that leverage its technology and aims to create products that connect creators and users. Sony will be launching its latest phone model Xperia 1 over the next few days.
Quoting CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, Reuters reported that Sony sees smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component that is crucial in making its hardware brand “sustainable”. He added that smartphones have become the first touchpoint for the younger generation which no longer watches TV. Marketing has reached out to Sony for comment.
Last year, Sony Pictures was tipped to let go about 5% of its global marketing and distribution staff, impacting approximately 25 jobs out of 550 employees. The cut impacts positions in research and strategy, publicity, media, operations, as well as the consumer and distribution groups, Bloomberg News reported.