Focus on emerging tech boosts Sony to record earnings

Sony is back to its best (at least in terms of earnings). Shares in Sony Corp have soared to a nine-year high and the company has forecast record earnings, some 20 per cent above its current profit record set two decades ago. The latest figures vindicate a major restructuring effort at the company under the guidance of CEO Kazuo Hirai. In particular, a focus on streamlining its unprofitable electronics arm and putting more of a focus on the spread of smartphones with its image sensors has breathed new life into the old dog.

"Image sensors will be used in a wide range of areas, and the market is very large," said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan Inc. "Profitability is increasing, and in the mid- to long-term we expect the stock price to reach its 2007 level of 7,190 yen."

In total, Sony’s stock has risen as much as 11.6 per cent to its highest level since June 2008, becoming the most traded firm by turnover on Tokyo’s main board. In afternoon trade, it was up 9.8 percent at 4,846 yen, giving it a market capitalisation of around $54 billion. That is some 20 per cent above the current profit record set by the company when strong sales of consumer electronics combined with the popularity of its first PlayStation games console and its "Men in Black" box-office hit.

As well as profiting from its image sensors, Sony has been piling money back into AI. The company has also unveiled it voice-activated communication robot Xperia Hello! And it said that it was reviving its robot dog AIBO that first hit the shelves in the late 1990’s. Virtual reality is also on Sony’s radar as it aims to use the platform in conjunction with its music and film businesses.

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