Sony to open new Xperia manufacturing plant in Thailand
Sony is stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding its market position in the smartphone industry. The Japanese manufacturer was once ubiquitous to cellphone users in 2005 to 2007 with the successful candy bar-style Ericsson cellphones only to be quickly thrown into obscurity by the advent of smartphones.
This week's news comes as a surprise as Sony has announced plans to refurbish an existing factory in Thailand to the dedicated manufacturing of Xperia smartphones. This suggests that the manufacturer has high hopes for its ailing smartphone sector, which saw shipments fall by as much as 4 million units from 11.9 million in Q4 2014 to 7.9 million in Q1 2015 according to The Unofficial Xperia Blog. Sony shares many similarities to HTC as both are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the likes of Samsung or Apple in terms of cost and marketing. This is in spite of the generally well-received Xperia smartphones and high-performance Exmor camera sensors, especially from the flagship end such as the Xperia Z4.
The new Thailand factory is expected to become fully operational by March 2016 at the latest and will produce over a million units per year at full capacity. Xperia devices sell much better in Asian territories where almost 1 in every 5 smartphones in Japan are Sony-manufactured. To the public eye, Sony was almost expected to pull out of the smartphone race due to lower-than-expected worldwide sales.
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