updated 11:12 am EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Apple could be key client
Sony has announced plans to invest 35 billion yen, or about $345 million, on scaling up production of image sensors for phones and tablets. Manufacturing of stacked CMOS sensors will increase at two factories in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu; meanwhile, the company is planning to complete work on a factory in northwestern Japan that it bought from Renesas. The hope is to boost wafer output 13 percent to 68,000 per month by August 2015, moving towards a longer-term target of 75,000, itself just a mid-term goal.
About 9 billion yen will be spent in 2014, coming out of a 65 billion yen capital expenditure budget for semiconductors. The subsequent 26 billion will be paid out during the first half of Sony's next fiscal year, which starts in March.
One of the main clients for the new sensors could be Apple. Sony already supplies parts for the rear-facing camera in the iPhone, and demand for that device is only expected to grow.