Reports circulating in Japan suggest that Sanyo Electric is looking to sell its mobile handset unit to another vendor from that country as part of a much-needed consolidation in its over-fragmented cellphone manufacturing sector.
Japan has a dozen manufacturers, with only Sony, via its partnership with Ericsson, as a significant player on the international market, ranking fourth behind Nokia, Samsung and Motorola and tipped to overtake the last of these in the next few quarters.
The sector as a whole has been hampered by working in a country where each vendor works with different technologies (regular W-CDMA, cdma2000 and iMode, for instance) and thus failing to achieve the kind of economies of scale required to compete on the world market. Sanyo in particular ranks only fourth or fifth in Japan and, worldwide, has just 0.8% of the global market.
The Japanese company last year struck a deal with global market leader Nokia for collaboration in the CDMA market, which is where it has its strength, but it fell through when the Finnish vendor decided instead to pull out of CDMA development as part of its legal wrangle with Qualcomm.
Nikkei Report quoted one Sanyo source as saying that the ideal acquirers for its handset division would be Sharp, which is the market leader in Japan, or Kyocera, which acquired the handset business of Qualcomm a few years back, because both of them are located in the same geographical area.