Sony looks to mobile and medical sectors to turnaround fortunes

Sony is one of several potential partners that have been linked with disgraced medical equipment maker Olympus, which has a 70 per cent share of the global market for diagnostic endoscopes and is looking to shore up its finances after a $1.7 billion accounting fraud.

Sony has held up endoscopes, enhanced by its own graphics technology, as an example of new areas it is looking to for growth.

Hirai is looking for total group sales of 8.5 trillion yen ($105 billion) in 2014/15, with an operating margin of more than 5 per cent.

In February, Hirai said he would widen the PlayStation gaming console online network to integrate all Sony devices, replacing three online content delivery platforms it currently operates.

Sony recently bought out Ericsson's half of their smartphone venture for $1.5 billion to shore up its position in a market where Apple and Samsung have become leaders. It has since launched its first smartphones, the Xperia series, under the Sony brand.

"Smartphones will become the hub device," Hirai said on Thursday, vowing to make Sony a leading player in mobile phones, tripling revenue to 1.8 trillion yen ($22.2 billion) over the next three business years.

Sony said it would also look for potential partners to make batteries for electric vehicles.

"Expanding in medical and electric vehicles is good because these businesses have better margins and they're areas that Japan is good at," said Michael On, managing director at Beyond Asset Management.

The latest job cuts follow two rounds of layoffs Stringer made in his six-year tenure at Sony. CFO Masaru Kato noted earlier this week that around 5,000 workers would come off the Sony payroll with the sale of a chemicals business and a small liquid crystal display fabricator.

Hirai said some of the cuts would be in TV, but gave no further details on how he planned to achieve the cuts he outlined for the business.