Sony Corp. will continue supporting its high-profile mobile-phone joint venture with Sweden’s Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, its president said Wednesday.

“We have had talks frequently with Ericsson, and there has been no change in either parent firms’ support for it,” Sony President Kunitake Ando told reporters.

Ando made the remarks following comments by Kurt Hellstroem, chief executive of Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, that his company will not continue pouring money into the joint venture unless its products catch on far more quickly.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Friday, Hellstroem said, “Ericsson won’t throw money” at the loss-making venture, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, unless it sees real acceptance of handsets to be launched by the joint venture within the next two quarters.

Sony Ericsson, owned 50-50 by the loss-making Swedish mobile network company and the Japanese consumer electronics giant, was created in October 2001 to salvage the loss-making handset units of both firms.

It posted a net loss of 800 million krona (10.38 billion yen) in the second quarter.

Ando said he is confident that the joint venture can be successful.

“It seems that Ericsson is faced with a severe environment amid a slump in the telecommunications equipment market because its main business is telecommunications infrastructures, but we can make an offense if Sony’s design strength and Ericsson’s technical strength are combined,” he said.

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