TOKYO--At a board meeting today (November 30, 2003), Japan's Sony Corp. said it has decided to spin-out its separate consumer electronics and smart card units into new and independent subsidiaries.
In the first move, Sony decided to make Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) a wholly-owned subsidiary through a stock exchange on April 1, 2004.
By making SCE a wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony aims to accelerate this growth strategy by creating new markets through the convergence of electronics and game technology and by strengthening Sony's semiconductor development.
In the second move, Sony has spun-out its IC smart card unit into a newly established company, dubbed FeliCa Networks Inc. FeliCa Networks will become a joint venture company of Sony and NTT DoCoMo Inc. in late January 2004 through the issuance of new shares.
FeliCa is a contactless IC card technology developed by Sony. The card is difficult to forge/reconstruct, and allows to send/receive data at high speed and with high security. At present, 38 million cards using FeliCa chips have been issued worldwide.
This new company will develop the technology for a new IC chip, tentatively named "mobile FeliCa IC", that will integrate mobile phones with the FeliCa technology. This new company will then implement production and sales licensing agreements with chip manufacturers, and work to create a platform whereby content providers can offer mobile services that feature both flexibility and security.
The mobile FeliCa IC and service platform will be developed in an open environment and provided to the widest possible range of mobile telecommunications operators and content providers.