Sony aims to sell 50M smartphones this year after falling short of 40M goal last year

Sony said its Sony Mobile Communications unit hopes to sell 50 million smartphones in its coming fiscal year after falling short of last year's goal of 40 million, which itself had been revised down.

The company aims to meet the higher smartphone sales target for its new fiscal year, which runs until March 2015. In reporting its earnings for the last fiscal year and quarter, Sony said it sold 39 million smartphones last year, up from 33 million the year before.

In February, Sony lowered its smartphone sales target for the fiscal year to 40 million units from its previous forecast of 42 million units. At the time, Sony said smartphone sales in China and other Asian countries as well as in Europe were weaker than the company had expected.

For the full fiscal year, sales in Sony's mobile phone and VAIO PC unit increased 29.6 percent year-over-year. Sony said the mobile phone segment of the business actually turned a profit for the year but the overall unit was dragged down by declining PC sales and an operating loss in that part of the business.

Sony has said it will focus on markets outside of the U.S. and China to boost smartphone sales, even though China and the U.S. are the two largest smartphone markets in the world. The company does not have a U.S. carrier partner for its flagship Z2 smartphone, but has said it will sell the phone in the U.S. unlocked sometime this summer.

Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida told investors on an earnings briefing call that the firm would aim to reduce volatility in its electronics business by promoting smartphone contracts with enterprise clients, according to Reuters.

Overall, Sony said it expects its sixth annual loss in seven years in this coming fiscal year because of lingering effects of the restructuring of its consumer electronics business. For the 12 months ending March 2015, Sony is estimating it will post a net loss of around $490 million, narrower than the $1.25 billion loss the company reported for the last fiscal year but much weaker than the profit analysts had expected.

For more:
- see this release (PDF)
- see this presentation 
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this The Verge article

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