Sharp rejoins smartphones' crowded fray

Sharp rejoins smartphones' crowded fray

Commtiva receives exclusive brand licence

Narong Kamondetdecha, Commtiva sales director (left), and Oran Rungsereechaitrakul, marketing manager, show the new Sharp smartphones.
Narong Kamondetdecha, Commtiva sales director (left), and Oran Rungsereechaitrakul, marketing manager, show the new Sharp smartphones.

Sharp smartphones have made their way back into Thailand, this time through Commtiva Technology, a Taiwan-based distributor of wireless communication products.

After a four-year absence, the Sharp brand will resume its presence in Thailand's red-hot smartphone market.

"Thailand is the third country in Southeast Asia that Sharp has entered, after Singapore and Malaysia," said Narong Kamondetdecha, sales director of Commtiva.

Commtiva early this year began selling Sharp smartphones in China, Taiwan, Russia and Southeast Asia, after the company received an exclusive brand licence to sell Sharp phones in 2015.

Mr Narong acknowledged that Thailand's smartphone market is intensely competitive, being dominated by Chinese phone makers.

But he said Commtiva believes the local market is big enough to accommodate new players, especially in the high-growth mid-range smartphone market priced 7,000-12,000 baht.

Mid-tier smartphones account for 25% of Thailand's total smartphone sales of 15 million units this year, and are expected to rise to 30% in 2017.

Commtiva yesterday launched two Sharp smartphone models in Thailand -- the Sharp M1 and the Sharp Z2.

The Android phones each feature a 5.5-inch display and are priced 8,990 and 9,990 baht, respectively.

"We plan to spend 10 million baht building Sharp's brand awareness in Thailand for the first three months of 2017," Mr Narong said. "An additional 10-20 million baht will be used per quarter next year."

He said the company would need a few years to build the brand's reputation among Thai consumers.

Commtiva aims to sell 60,000 Sharp smartphones in Thailand in its first year, targeting the mid-tier consumer segment, Mr Narong said.

The company plans to roll out high-end smartphones priced 10,000-15,000 baht in the first half.

Mr Narong said Commtiva has joined forces with third-ranked mobile operator True Move to bundle Sharp smartphones to boost its sales.

The company also plans to sell Sharp phones in leading IT chain stores like TG Fone, Jaymart and Com7.

Commtiva has appointed Thaiday Products as its local distributor to support customer services.

Mr Narong said local mobile operators will have to increasingly work with manufacturers in order to focus on marketing in the high-growth mid- and high-end handset segments.

The company is also exploring opportunities for cross-selling promotions with Sharp in Thailand, he said.

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