Sony Gears Up for Eventual Rebound in Smartphone Camera Demand

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(Bloomberg) -- Sony Group Corp. plans to buy more land near its image sensor factory in Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture to expand its market share in the growing business of powering camera smartphones.

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The Tokyo-based company, which supplies devices including Apple Inc.’s iPhones, said Thursday it’s in talks to acquire 27 hectares of land for expansion in Koshi, Kumamoto, to the northwest of Sony’s existing factory. It could invest several hundred billion yen on a second factory at the new site, local newspaper Kumamoto Nichinichi reported earlier.

The company now expects its share of the global image sensor market to hit 60% by the business year starting April 2025, the head of Sony’s chip business, Terushi Shimizu, said at an investors relations event. It commands a little over half the market’s revenues now.

That’s despite a “tougher market environment” this fiscal year for image sensors, Shimizu said. The bulk of Sony’s sensors are used in smartphones, which has suffered double-digit declines particularly in China, the world’s biggest mobile market.

“While we are keeping future uncertainties in mind, we are preparing for the long term, to ensure we can capture growth opportunities when the market recovers in the future,” Shimizu said.

Sony is also chasing growing demand for automotive image sensors, whose ability to capture images for analysis are essential for self-driving cars. The company expects revenue for car sensors to double in the year to March, and aims for profitability in one to two years, Shimizu said.

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