Sony Corp has confirmed it has sold its loss-making Vaio personal computer division to a Japanese investment house, it said Thursday.

A new company would be set up by Japan Industrial Partners to take over the Vaio brand's operations in Japan, and could mean the brand would disappear outside of Japan. Financial details were not released, but Sony will take a five per cent stake in the new firm, which plans to hire some Sony employees.

Although Sony is selling its PC business, it will continue to produce tablet computers and smartphones as part of its focus on mobile devices.

Sales of traditional PCs are slowing as smartphones and tablets gain popularity. Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, down seven per cent from 2013, according to research firm Gartner.

Mobile phones are expected to dominate overall device shipments, with 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped in 2014, a five per cent increase from 2013, Gartner said.

The Nikkei business daily reported that the Vaio PC unit would be sold for up to 50 billion yen ($550 million Cdn) and that Sony would retain a small stake in the new company.

The Japanese consumer electronic firm reported an operating loss of 12.6 billion yen ($140 million) in the October to December quarter in its mobile products unit, which is responsible for PCs sales. That's an improvement on the $230 million loss last year.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday that Chinese technology company Lenovo Group was in talks about a possible joint venture to take over Sony's loss-making PC business overseas.

With files from Reuters