Sony considers $5.8 billion smartphone sensor factory in Japan

By Chavi Mehta and Kiyoshi Takenaka

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Group Corp is considering an investment of about 800 billion yen ($5.83 billion) to build a factory to make smartphone image sensors in western Japan, the Nikkan Kogyo newspaper said on Friday.

The plant would be located in Kumamoto prefecture and Sony plans to bring it online in 2025 at the earliest, the report said. The news was first reported by the Nikkei business daily, although it didn’t mention a specific investment amount.

The Nikkei said the Japanese electronics and entertainment conglomerate would carefully consider the timing of the construction and the size of the investment given concerns about a slowdown in the global economy.

A spokesman at Sony’s semiconductor division declined to comment on the Nikkei report.

Major economies, including the United States and Japan, have scrambled to boost domestic chip production after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is building a major chip plant in Kumamoto. Sony and auto parts maker Denso Corp are each taking a minority stake in the $8.6 billion project.

Sony plans to source logic chips for image sensors from the TSMC plant, the Nikkei said. ($1=137.31 yen)