Sony to build new image sensor factory in Kumamoto in chip push

Sony Group Corp. will set up a new image sensor factory in Kumamoto Prefecture, the head of its semiconductor unit said Friday, as it seeks to strengthen its chip operations.

The plant, which is expected to produce smartphone sensors, will be built on a 270,000-square-meter site it plans to acquire this year in Koshi in the southwestern Japan prefecture, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. President Terushi Shimizu told reporters.

There are "growing expectations" for the development of sensors as one of the sources of value for smartphones, Shimizu said, adding that this trend is expected to continue for a while.

He did not specify the amount of investment and or give a timing for building the plant.

The move comes after Sony last month unveiled a plan to spin off its financial unit to focus its resources on the semiconductor and entertainment businesses.

Later that month, Sony said it would acquire a piece of land in Koshi without detailing its purpose.

Kumamoto has been attracting sizable chip-related investments in recent years. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, is building a chip factory there, with an eye to setting up another nearby.

Sony, the world's biggest producer of image sensors, plans about 900 billion yen ($6.3 billion) in capital expenditure in the sector in the three years through fiscal 2023.

The Japanese company is expected to maintain the same level of investment for the next three years as well.

© Kyodo News