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  • Writer's pictureHenri Caron

SONY: The giant dream creator

Sony (SNE:NYQ), a technology titan, with annual revenues of 8.5tn yen ($78.2 bn), whose inventions revolutionized households, education and culture worldwide. Underneath, lies a profound social purpose, a powerful engine that fuels permanent creativity and reinvention.

With all its corporate might, 114,000 employees worldwide, huge R&D and manufacturing facilities, it was conceived by a dreamer, an engineer resolute to overcome the post war looming reality surrounding him.

Sony was born out of the ashes of war with an initial capital investment of 190,000 yen.

“During the war, I worked at Japan Precision Instrument Co. with a number of engineers testing and producing new military equipment. We worked so hard that we literally forgot to sleep or eat. After the war and dissolution of the company, about 20 of these dedicated and truly worthy engineers joined me to start Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo (Tokyo Telecommunications Laboratory), for the development and production of communications equipment”, reads the Founding Prospectus, drafted by Mr. Masaru Ibuka on May 7, 1946.

“To establish an ideal factory that stresses a spirit of freedom and open-mindedness, reconstruct Japan and to elevate the nation's culture through dynamic technological and manufacturing activities” were the purposes outlined.

The company started as a major provider of radio devices and related services for the Ministry of Telecommunications, whose primary objective was to rebuild the damaged society network. Based on its excellent technical capabilities and solid management, Sony (then Tokyo Telecommunications) soon strived technologically with the development of new products that reshaped people’s lives worldwide such as the magnetic tape recorder (1950), the world’s smallest transistor TV (1962), world’s first CD player (1982), 8 mm cam corder (1988), MAVICA still-camera (1989), PlayStation (1994), Cybershot camera (1996), robot AIBO (1999), and many more.

Since an early stage Sony set a foot in the music industry, and then in film and gaming. With the consolidation of EMI Music, Sony has become the world’s largest music publishing company.

Today, its business is structured under the following segments: Game & Network Services; Music and Pictures; Electronic Products & Solutions (TVs, LCDs, mobile, computers); Imaging and Sensors Semiconductors (sensors in mobiles, cars).

Future growth strategy focuses on increasing integration between its vast IP music and film content library with its technological capabilities. It plans to boost direct to consumer services such as streaming in gaming and entertainment taking advantage of the proliferation of subscription streaming services.

PlayStation is one of the company’s flagship products (100 million units sold), which Sony will continue to expand leveraging the latest computing, streaming, cloud, and 5G technologies, together with excellent content.

In the imaging and sensor segment Sony has gained a leading position. Most of sales (80%) come from the mobile market, as demand for sensors continues to grow due to adoption of multiple sensors and larger sized sensors in smartphones.

This business is also expected to expand through fields such as distance measurement and automotive and by making sensors more intelligent by embedding AI (artificial intelligence).

Year on year, Sony almost doubled its net income from 490 bn yen (U$ 4.5bn) to 916 bn yen (U$ 8.4bn) and earned 1.25tn yen (U$ 11.5bn) from its operations. The stock (SNE:NYQ) has traded at record prices within $71 / $72 range, below analysts median target of $82.

“A Creative Entertainment Company with a Solid Foundation of Technology” , stated Kenichiro Yoshida; Sony Corporation’s CEO, highlighting the strategic vision. The prospects seem bright for the near and long-term future.

Sony was the dream of a man under extraordinary circumstances, laying the foundation for boundless creativity. Technology was the means that made it possible.

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