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Sony plans split of image sensor business

In an aim to grow its image sensors business, Sony Corp has said that it will be splitting off its semiconductors operations, the strongest business unit for the electronics maker.

In its announcement, Sony said it will be establishing Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp and will begin operations in April 2016, a move that was part of the company's undertaking to give autonomy to its business units in picking up speed in its decision-making and making it more accountable for its profitability.

Sony Semiconductor Corp and Sony LSI Design, which handle manufacturing and design for this portion of the business, will become subsidiaries of this new company.

The sensor business is popular among both camera and smartphone manufacturers. Sony's sensors, used in smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, have helped lead a turnaround at the company in the past year as its other business segments, such as its TV and smartphone units, struggled.

Sony said in April that it would spend 45 billion yen ($374 billion), on top of a 105 billion yen investment announced in February, to increase its sensor production capacity this fiscal year. The company also aims to expand its sensors into automobile-related products, which is seen to be a growing industry