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Sony spins off chipmaking business

Sony has spun off its semiconductor business into a separate unit so it can concentrate on its devices division and growing its digital image business, which supplies sensors for use in iPhone cameras, the Japanese electronics giant said on Tuesday.

The Japanese electronics giant said the move was designed to help the business be more accountable, generate sustainable profits and accelerate the decision-making processes.

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Chief executive Kazuo Hirai has been on a path of turning around the struggling firm to become profitable and focus on its strengths. Sony has previously spun off its embattled TV business and sold its PC arm. Earlier this year, it decided to spin off its audio and video business.

Currently, the devices division of Sony houses the image sensor business, battery and storage media arms.

A new company called Sony Semiconductor Solutions will be set up and start operations on April 1, 2016. This will contain the semiconductor business which primarily focuses on image sensors.

The battery business will fall to Sony Energy Devices Corporation while the storage media unit will fall under Sony Storage Media and Devices Corporation.

Devices are one of Sony's fastest-growing unites. The business saw operating income hit 30.3 billion yen ($249 million) in the three months to June 30, a 163.8 percent year-on-year rise, primarily driven by image sensors.

The spin-off comes at a time when Sony is struggling in the smartphone space and is looking to focus its business on the most profitable areas.