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Sony chief promises profitability, but is short on specifics

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/23/2017 By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Sony's leader promised a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades.

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

"We are a company that moves people," said Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, as he outlined the strategy for the company at its Tokyo headquarters Tuesday.

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

But he said he cannot give away details of products in the works such as those using artificial intelligence or the "internet of things," or IoT, technology.

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

He stressed the profitability in sprawling Sony Corp., including its lucrative PlayStation video-game business, which just came out with a popular virtual-reality headset.

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai bows after outlining its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai bows after outlining its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Hirai also told reporters another important area is Sony's TV sector, which has been in the black for the last few years, after losing money for a decade.

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) © The Associated Press Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai outlines its strategy at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Sony's leader is promising a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

He also said profits will be improved in smartphones and movies.

Hirai, who took leadership of the company five years ago, acknowledged Sony has never in its seven decades experienced extended periods of profitability.

He stressed that Sony has announced an ambitious goal of achieving operating profit of 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Sony's woes have stemmed from having so many diverse areas it has been almost impossible to do well across the board.

When questioned how profitability will be gained in the movies division, Hirai said he hoped to get a hit by working with creators with a good "batting average," and take advantage of hit content it already has, such as the "Spider-Man" series.

But the major task of restructuring has been completed, he added. Sony has been selling its assets, to ensure profitability, including its Vaio personal computer business. That was needed because Sony could not hope to be unique in PCs, Hirai said.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

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