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Sony Smiles As Smartphone Cameras Boost Profits

In Tokyo, Japan, the rise of smartphones featuring three or four rear cameras is producing a boost in sales for Sony Corp.

The Tokyo electronics makers, which supplies Apple Inc. and other smartphone manufacturers with image sensors used in cameras, said on Tuesday sales from the business rose 29 per cent in the latest quarter compared with the previous year.

The company lifted its revenue and profit forecasts for the year ending 31 March. Additionally, Sony’s shares have also risen more than 50 per cent from a year earlier.

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro, released in September, has three rear cameras, up from two featured in the iPhone X.

(Photo: iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro)

Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co. have also both released phones with four rear cameras. The trend means more demand for the sensors that convert light into electrical signals – a market in which Sony says it holds the top share by revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The image sensor business is ‘running extremely well’ Sony Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki told the publication.

‘We’re investing in new highly competitive products and maintaining and improving overall margins.’

While the overall smartphone market has plateaued globally over recent years, Apple has shaken off its iPhone flop, last week claiming an 8 per cent increase in iPhone sales from the most recent quarter from a year earlier.


Jefferies analyst, Atul Goyal, forecast more growth for the Sony business.

‘Bigger image sensor size is also warranting higher pricing and margins,’ he told the publication.

Sony’s image-sensor unit is building a new plant in Nagasaki, Japan. The unit recorded the highest profit among Sony departments in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, outperforming the company’s gaming unit.

The growth in sensors offset slowing sales of PlayStation game consoles as consumers await the PS5 release date, set to be during this year’s US holiday season.

Sony expects to post a net profit of US $5.4 billion in the year ending in March – increase of 9 per cent from its previous forecast in October.

(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

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