See English translation below
When the news blared back in May 2020 (that’s just 4 months ago) that “Olympus exits the camera business in South Korea,” it was a very definite and clear sign of the times, especially because rumors had floated for months before about the troubles that Olympus imaging was facing.
This case with Sony is different, and also not. First, there are no rumors floating around that Sony’s imaging business is in imminent trouble, though this closing may be the opening salvo, and it may just start closing its camera business in other countries where it is not profitable.
In our commentary on Olympus’ sale to JIP, we shared our thoughts that we didn’t believe that the bad news would stop there. We listed a couple of other companies that we thought were in danger (though on the surface their camera business appear strong and vibrantly healthy).
We mentioned that Sony is facing twin pressures from within and without: back on April 1, 2020, Sony spinned off its businesses that made up its Electronics Products and Solutions segment (which included Imaging Products & Solutions) into a new separate holding company called Sony Electronics Corporation. It is also under tremendous financial pressure (especially from one very persistent activist investor) to show profits and a good ROI — or sell its imaging business.
Looking at Sony’s award-winning Alpha 7 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras — the cream of the crop, and the first choice among many professional photographers — it certainly sounds far-fetched that Sony will exit the camera business especially that its A7 series mirrorless cameras are doing so well right now. But, with some companies, all it takes is a couple of losses to seal their fate. While Sony had the full-frame mirrorless field all to itself a few years back, it’s a different ballgame now that Nikon and Canon have both thrown their full weight into the full-frame mirrorless arena, fracturing a market that once seemed safe in Sony’s grasp. Sony now sees itself sharing that already shrinking financial pie with others.
Note that the closing won’t take effect until March 2021 (6 months from now) and the “interruption” of consumer sales won’t happen until mid-2021 (say June 2021, 9 months from now). That’s a relatively long time to wait, because a lot can happen in six or nine months, sometimes.
Yes, this camera business closure in Brazil is different and is not a clear signal that Sony is closing its camera business anytime soon.
In the final analysis, whether Sony Electronics Corporation survives and continues to revel us with imaging technological breakthroughs that find their way into better cameras (and other electronic products) may be less dependent on their own technical wizardry (under their control) than on the global economic forces at play (outside of their control). Let’s hope that Sony Electronics Corporation weathers this financial storm, for we expect greater camera products from them.
OFFICIAL NOTE ON SONY OPERATIONS IN BRAZIL
The Sony group has always taken steps to strengthen the structure and sustainability of its business, in order to respond to rapid changes in the external environment.
We decided to close the plant in Manaus at the end of March 2021 and interrupt, in mid-2021, sales of consumer products by Sony Brazil, such as TV, audio and cameras, considering the recent market environment and the expected trend for the business.
Sony is taking all necessary measures and is very committed as a company to commit its efforts to guarantee all rights, the best treatment and special care for its employees.
Sony Brasil will continue to offer all consumer support for products under its commercial responsibility in accordance with applicable laws and its product warranty policy.
The other Sony group businesses in Brazil (Games, Professional Solutions, Music and Pictures Entertainment, including Playstation) will continue to maintain their strong presence in the local market.
via Gizmodo Brazil