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Business Insight

Focusing on Expertise

Akiko Okamoto, NHK WORLD

It's earnings season in Japan and the country's big electronics manufacturers are showing mixed results. Firms exporting infrastructure business are doing well, but companies hanging onto consumer electronics are struggling.

Hitachi posted its second-ever best growth for April to December. Overseas sales boosted its bottom line thanks to the weaker yen.

Hitachi managers are hoping that orders for a high-speed rail service in Britain will further increase profits. The company has orders from the British government to build 866 specially designed carriages. The rail service links central London with cities in England and Scotland.

The new carriages have a diesel engine allowing them to run in places without electric lines.

They also have a kitchen for catering services. The carriages will enter service in 2017 after test runs starting this April.

"There's a lot of demand in the European region and it's a developed area. We definitely want to enter that market. We would also like to expand our business from Britain to Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East."
Kentaro Masai / CEO, Hitachi Rail Systems Company

Meanwhile, Sony executives are not satisfied with the company's results. The company revised upward its earnings forecast due to strong sales in game consoles and image processing sensors for smartphones, but Sony's struggling stand-alone mobile business is hurting income.

Sony managers are trying to develop ideas to recover lost ground.

The company is going after audiophiles again with a new portable music device. It's a high resolution Walkman that produces high quality stereo sound.

The exterior of the device is made of aluminum and there is a copper plate inside. Company officials say those parts help create clear quality sound. The new player will go on sale in Japan this month for more than 1000 dollars. It will hit stores in other parts of Asia, US, and Europe in the spring.

Sony has also rolled out a device for cosmetic companies, utilizing its image sensor technology.

The product instantly analyzes and grades skin conditions, and checks skin age.

Whether their products are large or small, Japanese makers hope to use their expertise to compete with domestic and foreign companies.

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