Sony has just announced that it plans to cut 8,000 full time jobs

Sony Corp. announced on Tuesday its plans to cut 8,000 full time jobs, which is about 4% of the work force it employs, while 8,000 collaborators will also have their contracts terminated. The move is designated to save the company around 1.1 billion dollars in one year.

In the biggest cuts announced by an Asian firm so far in the current financial crisis, the Japan-based electronics firm said it would cut about 4 percent of its 160,000-employee workforce, and scale back investments and pull out of businesses as it aims to cut $1.1 billion in costs out of its ailing electronics operations.

“These initiatives are in response to the sudden and rapid changes in the global economic environment,” Sony said in a statement.

About 10 percent of the company’s 57 plants will be shut, including 2 overseas sites, and plans to expand a site in Slovakia where LCD televisions for the European market are assembled have been delayed.

Sony also intends to reduce its investments in the electronics sector by approximately 30 percent in the fiscal year ending March 2010.

The cutbacks will save Sony more than 100 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, a year.

Demand for gadgets has decreased during what is usually the most profitable season for companies.

“Consumers have essentially stopped buying,” said Brian Halla, Chief Executive of chipmaker National Semiconductor. “For the first time in a long time, you think before you buy the new gadget or choose to upgrade your phone.”

Korean electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said late on Monday it was cutting its targets for sales, capital expenditures and profit, reflecting an increasingly tough worldwide economy.

The world’s top maker of memory chips and liquid crystal displays (LCDs) is also facing a lengthy downturn in the once-reliable memory market and a rapid margin deterioration in the flat-screen TV sector.