Sony keen on low-cost smartphone market

Japan's Sony Corporation is jumping onto the low-cost smartphone bandwagon for the first time, with units priced below 5,000 baht to cash in on burgeoning third-generation (3G) demand.

GfK, the German market research firm, forecasts Thailand's smartphone sales will grow by 37% to 7.8 million units this year valued at 54 billion baht.

Toru Shimizu, the managing director of Sony Thai, said the company expects to retain its No.3 position in Thailand's overall smartphone market this year in terms of value.

"We plan to become No.2 in the local Android-based smartphone market," he said, adding that the decision to tap into low-cost units is to meet this goal.

However, up to 70% of Sony's smartphone sales revenue thus far has come from mid-range smartphones priced between 6,900 and 9,000 baht and high-end models priced above that.

Meanwhile, Sony yesterday introduced its Xperia Z premium smartphone, priced at 20,990 baht. Featuring a five-inch display and built-in 13-megapixel camera, it runs on the Android OS.

Mr Shimizu said the company will spend 30 million baht to promote the Xperia Z and work with mobile server Advanced Info Service for promotional data tariff packages.

Sony's Android-based Xperia Tablet Z, the thinnest tablet in Thailand, will also be offered this year.

Mr Shimizu said Sony Thai expects sales revenue from mobile devices to contribute 20% of revenue this year, up from 15% last year, fuelled by strong smartphone demand stemming from the 3G launch.

Revenue from consumer electronics products will decline to 65% from 70%, while professional digital imaging equipment will remain at 15%, he said.

About the author

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Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter