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Sony Corp. may end up selling fewer smartphones as a result of its push into wearable devices and services, and a new focus on markets outside China and the U.S.

“As we move toward more profitable markets and products you’ll see an effect on the overall size of the business as well,” Dennis van Schie, sales and marketing chief for Sony’s mobile division, said in an interview Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The company will seek to boost sales in its Japanese home market as well as Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, van Schie said today. Van Schie declined to specify how many mobile devices the Tokyo-based company plans to sell after this fiscal year ending March 31, during which it targets shipping 39.2 million units to customers.

Amid competition from Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and other producers, Sony is ceasing to make new smartphones for China and reducing its range of Xperia devices. While the company is counting on image sensors, its PlayStation console and multimedia services to drive sales in the next three years, Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said today the mobile unit, which Sony fully took over from Ericsson AB in 2012, will remain an important part of the company.

Sony showed its new Xperia Z4 tablet and the waterproof Xperia M4 Aqua in Barcelona. Wearable devices targeted at businesses and gadgets such as its SmartEyeglass headset will help stabilize earnings at the mobile unit, van Schie said.

“You need to invest heavily, but margins are a lot better than a commoditized cutthroat hardware business like smartphones,” he said. “Of course it starts with the customer and the experience, but if you create new businesses around it, you have a higher likelihood of having a sustainable business over time as well.”

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