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Sony estimates CIS sales for fiscal 2020 to fall 11.8% on weak handset demand

Sony has recently estimated its CMOS image sensor (CIS) sales for fiscal 2020 (April 2020-March 2021) to fall 11.8% on year compared to a 6.5% decline estimated earlier, due mainly to slackened demand for handset applications as global handset sales are projected to shrink by 10% in 2020, according to Digitimes Research.

The pandemic impacts on terminal markets, US trade ban on Huawei, and keen competition from peer suppliers are also factors driving Sony to adjust downward its CIS sales projection.
CIS sales have contributed over 86% of total revenues of Sony’s Imaging and Sensing Solutions (I&SS) business division in the past five quarters, and the estimated sales shrinkage will lead to an on-year reduction of 65.6% in fiscal 2020 operating incomes for the I&SS unit.

Sony has cut its budget for a three-year investment plan ending March 2021 by 12.9% to JPY610 billion (US$5.84 billion) from JPY700 billion. It is also actively exploring new clients to offset the loss of orders from Huawei, and developing AI-enabled CIS products in cooperation with Microsoft to boost competitiveness in the market, while also contracting TSMC to fabricate 3D-stacked image signal processors, according to Digitimes Research.

At the moment, Sony and Samsung Electronics are the world’s top-2 CIS vendors, together commanding over 70% of global CIS supply. Samsung has successfully leveraged its memory lines to conduct cost-effective production of CIS devices that boast high pixel specs and lower prices, attracting strong patronage from Chinese handset vendors. The Korean vendor has zeroed in on ToF sensors as the next main CIS application outlet.

OmniVision has adopted a multi-pronged product development strategy, ranking No. 2 in many segments. SK Hynix is also striving to catch up by leveraging its existing DRAM resources and CIS production capacity in Japan. Digitimes

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