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Sony is cutting 10,000 employees under a $2bn restructuring plan, to shake up operations and face increasing competition.

Sony's new chief executive, Howard Stringer,announced the restructuring which is intended to save $1.8bn a year once changes are completed in 2008.

Sony expects the majority of job cuts to occur internationally with 4,000 positions going in Japan. The company is also reducing its number of factories from 65 to 54. Sony will incur a $1.25bn hit as a result of the changes during its current fiscal year.

The company is concentrating on revitalizing its electronics business through structural forms and a "well-defined" growth strategy to boost annual sales to $72bn and operating margin by five per cent at the end of fiscal 2007.

Restructuring comes as Sony faces increased competition across the board. Sony manufactures Wega TVs, Vaio PCs and Walkman music players which are being challenged by companies like Samsung Electronics and Apple Computer for market share while also challenging Sony on both pricing and profit margins. ®

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