-- What was the reaction to the latest investment?
Our back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
has been especially well received, and the
large number of customers considering
use of this image sensor in their products
has rendered us unable to keep up
with demand and inconveniencing our
customers. However, our vigorous efforts
to solve this problem through investment
seem to have met with approval.
We are currently working hard to quickly
raise production capacity and close the
gap between supply and demand and
hope our customers will bear with us in
-- Current investment is expected to double
your production capacity. Does this mean
that we consider ourselves at the top of the
CMOS sensor industry?
Sony was already a leading supplier of
CCD image sensors and by 2009 our
share of CMOS image sensor sales
became the largest worldwide. This recent
investment effort has now provided us
with a huge production capacity and sales
Our market share in terms of quantity
may seem small. But look at it this way;
a confectioner's sells cake usually sliced
into eight pieces. You can think of a
single slice of that cake as one piece, or
the whole cake before it is cut up into
slices as one piece. The volume
may be the same, but in terms of
quantity they differ widely. Sony
manufactures sensors with a large
amount of pixels - the whole cakes
in our example - so even if our
quantities are low, our work accounts for the largest share of wafers and sales
throughout the world.
-- Like in the digital still camera market, the
demand for CMOS image sensors seems to be
expanding also in the smartphone market.
The vast number of smartphones has
turned picture viewing into a new and
rapidly spreading fad. More and more
digital still camera like functions are being
integrated into smartphones and there is
an increasing demand for higher quality
image sensors with a higher pixel counts.
The drastic changes in the business
environment are expected to further spur
demand for our CMOS image sensors.