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September 01, 2010

Sony increases production capacity for image sensors including back-illuminated and large sized CMOS image sensors

--Investing approximately 40 billion yen in production facility to supply image sensors mainly for smartphones and digital cameras--


September 1, 2010, Tokyo, Japan - Sony Corporation (hereafter, "Sony") today announced that Sony would invest approximately 40 billion yen into Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center (hereafter, "Kumamoto TEC"), to increase production capacity for "Exmor" and "Exmor R" CMOS image sensors. This investment comprises of an amount previously determined to be invested in the second half of fiscal year 2010, which was included in the forecast for the capital expenditures announced at the earnings announcement for the first quarter ended June 30, 2010, in addition to an amount to be invested in fiscal year 2011.

With this investment, Sony will strengthen its production capacity for image sensors to meet the expected increase in market demand, and continue to solidify its global leadership position in image sensors.


  • Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center
The recent boom in smartphones is creating demand for devices with high image quality and high sensitivity capabilities. Also, the evolution of lighter and more compact Digital Still Cameras as well as improved camera functionality have resulted in an expanding customer segment who own high quality Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.
These market conditions have led to greater demand for larger image sensors and image sensors with higher image capabilities.

In order to meet these market demands, Sony currently provides two CMOS image sensor models: "Exmor" , which adopts the "Column-Parallel A/D Conversion Technique", providing each column within the sensor with its own A/D converter to reduce noise; and "Exmor R", which applies a back-illuminated structure to enhance image characteristics through high sensitivity and reduced noise.

Since 2009, Sony has been mass producing "Exmor R" for Digital Still Cameras and Digital Video Camcorders on wafer lines (with diameter of 200mm) at Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Nagasaki Technology Center. Furthermore, at the end of this year Sony plans to start the mass production of "Exmor R" on wafer lines (with diameter of 300mm) at Kumamoto TEC for mobile phone and compact Digital Still Camera markets.

With the investment announced today, Kumamoto TEC's CMOS image sensor production capacity will be further increased, and Sony will strengthen its ability to meet the expected market demand for "Exmor R" used in smartphones as well as a wide range of digital imaging products for consumer and professional use, including compact Digital Still Cameras. In addition, Sony will increase production capacity for mainly large sized "Exmor" used in Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras.

Investment Overview

Purpose of investment: Increase production capacity to meet the increasing demand of CMOS image sensors
Investment site: Kumamoto Technology Center, Sony Semiconductor
Kyushu Corporation (Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture)
Investment details: Wafer processing equipment for CMOS image sensor production, etc.
Investment time frame: From the second half of fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2011
Investment amount: Approximately 40 billion yen
Production Capacity
(Wafer Process/300mm wafers):
25,000 wafers per month
(Before investment this time: 18,500 wafers per month)
-Of them, the capacity for image sensors will be 22,500 wafers per month
(Before investment this time: 16,000 wafers per month)
(Total production capacity of Kumamoto TEC Fab 1 and 2)

Outline of Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation
(1) Head office: 2-3-2 Momochihama, Sawara-ku Fukuoka-shi Japan
(2) Establishment: April 1, 2001
(3) Representative Director (President): Masanori Okayama
(4) Capital: 24.25 billion yen, fully owned by Sony Corporation
(5) Production Bases: Kagoshima, Oita, Nagasaki and Kumamoto
(6) Number of employees: Approximately 9,000 (including contract and temporary employees) as of March 31, 2010
(7) Business Activities: Development, design and production of semiconductors, etc.


Kumamoto Technology Center
(1) Location: 4000-1 Haramizu, Kikuyomachi Kikuchigun, Kumamoto, Japan
(2) Establishment: October 1, 2001
(3) Site area: 256,000-square-meter
(4) Floor area: 195,000-square-meter
(5) Main products:; Image sensors (CCD and CMOS), micro display devices (H-LCD and "SXRD", etc.)

"Exmor" is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
"Exmor R" is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
"SXRD" is a trademark of Sony Corporation.



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