Sony is apparently set to launch low-cost smartphones specifically targeting the Indian market, even as it moves out of this segment globally, according to a report from Economic Times. Citing comments from Kenichiro Hibi, MD of Sony India, it was also suggested that the company might even manufacture devices locally.
The plan, which will see the Indian businesses diverging from Sony’s group smartphone strategy, comes in recognition of the specific characteristics of the Indian market. While it is fast-growing, it is also incredibly competitive, with local brands such as Karbonn, Micromax and Spice competing against fast-growing international players such as Xiaomi, even before adding established brands such as Samsung and Motorola into the mix.
According to Economic Times, Sony has a strong presence in the Indian television market, whereas its smartphone business is “stagnant”.
Globally, Sony’s smartphone business has been through a prolonged period of mixed fortunes (although probably more down than up), leading Kazuo Hirai, Sony CEO, to take to the stage at Mobile World Congress to argue that “mobile remains an important part of Sony”.
With the company at that time focusing on the importance of boosting profitability, its decision to target the high-volume, but lower-margin, Indian market is interesting. Producing locally should enable it to control its cost while also developing products that are closely aligned with the market, while smartphones are also largely a scale game, meaning additional volume is welcome for mass-market vendors.