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Sony Gains After Vow to Maintain Smartphone Growth: Tokyo Mover

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp., the maker of Xperia handsets, jumped the most in more than six months in Tokyo trading after Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai said the company will maintain growth in smartphone shipments.

Shares of Sony rose 3.8 percent to close at 1,894 yen, the biggest gain since June 18, as the benchmark Topix index dropped 0.7 percent. The company, which almost doubled smartphone sales in the past two years, will maintain momentum in the next two years, Hirai said at the International Consumer Electronics Show, according to company spokeswoman Ayano Iguchi.

Sony plans to sell 42 million smartphones in the 12 months ending March 31, which compares with 22.5 million units two years ago. The Tokyo-based company will begin testing an Internet-based pay-television service in the U.S. this year, bringing live and on-demand programming to TVs and its PlayStation game consoles.

“Shares are probably reacting to the report about the company’s plan to double smartphone sales in two years,” Junya Ayada, a Tokyo-based analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., said by phone. “PlayStation Now, a new cloud-based subscription game service, was also something new.”

The Nikkei earlier reported Sony plans to double smartphone sales to 80 million units over the next two years. Iguchi declined to confirm the report.

Sony had the sixth largest market share among smartphone manufacturers in the third quarter of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net; Grace Huang in Tokyo at xhuang66@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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