Sony to cut 15% of mobile phone workforce

Sony said Thursday it would chop 15 percent of the workforce at its struggling mobile phone unit and move its headquarters to Tokyo from Sweden as the Japanese consumer electronics giant slashes costs.

The move to cut 1,000 jobs at Sony Mobile Communications comes about six months after Sony bought Swedish telecom company Ericsson's share in their former joint venture, called Sony Ericsson, set up in 2001.

The joint venture struggled to launch popular smartphones amid stiff competition from rivals including Apple and South Korea's Samsung Electronics.

On Thursday, Sony said the job cuts in Sweden, expected to be completed by 2014, were part of a bid to "increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive profitable growth".

"We are accelerating the integration and convergence with the wider Sony group to continue enhancing our offerings," Sony Mobile chief Kunimasa Suzuki said in a statement.

"A more focused and efficient operational structure will help to reduce Sony Mobile's costs... and bring the business back to a place of strength."

Sony, which makes PlayStation game consoles and Bravia televisions, has already said it would cut about 10,000 jobs worldwide and spend nearly $1.0 billion on an overhaul that its chief Kazuo Hirai described as "urgent".

The Japanese firm lost a whopping 456.66 billion yen ($5.81 billion) in the year to March, its fourth consecutive annual loss.

It also reported a widening loss in its latest quarter and cut a profit forecast for the year as the struggling firm overhauls its business.

The losses have been particularly acute in Sony's television business. Japanese electronics firms have been hurt by a strong yen, shrinking profit margins and stiff competition from foreign rivals.

Piracy has threatened its music and film assets while Sony was also hurt by last year's quake-tsunami disaster in Japan.

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