Business / Corporate

Fujitsu looks to sell struggling mobile phone business

Kyodo

Fujitsu Ltd. is looking to sell its mobile phone business after struggling to win back consumers from smartphone competitors such as Apple Inc., sources said Tuesday.

The information technology firm could begin accepting bids as soon as next month, with potential buyers including Asian phone manufacturers and investment funds, the sources said.

Apple’s iPhone holds a significant share of Japan’s smartphone market and rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and Huawei Technologies Co. of China also offer competitive features and pricing, putting domestic firms at a disaadvantage.

Fujitsu’s exit from the market would leave Sony Corp., Sharp Corp. and Kyocera Corp. as the only remaining Japanese mobile phone manufacturers doing business at home, down from around 10 makers in the early 2000s.

The company makes RakuRaku phones targeted at the elderly as well as the Arrows series and sells them mainly through NTT Docomo Inc. It also has a full lineup of flip phones.

However, Fujitsu holds less than a 10 percent share of the domestic market and shipments in fiscal 2017 through next March are expected to reach 3.1 million units, less than half of the fiscal 2011 peak of 8 million units.

The company hopes to keep the Fujitsu phone brand alive after the sale and will likely retain a share of Fujitsu Connected Technologies Ltd., its mobile phone manufacturing subsidiary in Kawasaki, the sources said.

The move is the latest in a string of restructuring efforts at Fujitsu as the company focuses on its core network infrastructure business.

The electronics manufacturer has agreed to sell a majority of its shares in car navigation system maker Fujitsu Ten Ltd. to Denso Corp., a group company of Toyota Motor Corp. It is also in talks to integrate its personal computer business with China’s Lenovo Group Ltd., the world’s biggest PC manufacturer.

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