Japan-based electronics giant Sony Corp will stop making smartphones in China, the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday.
As part of Sony's efforts to restructure its mobile business, the company will stop production at its Beijing smartphone plant, Beijing Sony Ericsson Putian Mobile Communication Co, at the end of March. The plant has offered its employees plans to terminate their contracts starting March 20, said the company.
Sony will continue to sell smartphones in the Chinese market and continue marketing activities, as well as provide comprehensive services and support for Chinese customers, the statement said.
Sony has five plants in China, including the Beijing one that is being closed.
"Plans to suspend production in the Beijing plant won't affect operations of the other factories. The position of the Chinese market - Sony's most important strategic market globally and a vital component of the company's global operations chain - won't change," it noted.
Globally, Sony has two smartphone plants, one in Beijing and the other in Thailand. There are no plans to shift production to the Thailand plant. Sony will continue making phones in the Thailand plant and continue outsourcing manufacturing, a Sony spokesperson told the Global Times on Thursday.
The comment came after a Reuters report earlier Thursday, which cited a company spokesperson as saying that Sony will "shift production to its plant in Thailand in a bid to halve costs and turn the smartphone business profitable in the year from April 2020." The spokesperson added that the decision was not related to the China-US trade friction.
According to Sony's earnings report in 2018 from October to December, its sales revenue declined by 10 percent year-on-year. While its mobile communications unit lost 15.5 billion yen ($140.4 million) in the period, according to the report released in February.