Sony has announced plans to open up a new smartphone factory in the Pathum Thani Province in Thailand. The company already own a large production site there which has been suspended following the massive 2011 floods.
The initial investment of several billion yen will give Sony the opportunity to start mass producing smartphones there starting in fiscal 2016. Initially the factory will have an output of several million units per year.
Sony hasn't put up a new plant specifically for mobile devices since 1995. Twenty years ago, the company built a mobile communications factory in Beijing with three local partners. Back then, it participated with 51% of the investment, but now Sony fully owns the new Thai plant. Hopefully, this will make for more agile business decisions.
In the beginning of October, the company CEO Kazuo Hirai gave the mobile division a year to start bringing in a profit, before resorting to "alternative options." Building a brand new factory to handle just mobile devices is an optimistic sign, which should breathe a sigh of relief to fans and investors alike.
And that's exactly what Sony needs after its mobile communications business posted an operating loss of $1.82 billion for the fiscal year ending in March 2015. Through streamlined marketing, reforms and payroll cuts, the company has expressed its hope to turn to profit by March 2017.