Sony booming in India on strong brand image

Feb 18, 2011 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer
In this Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni poses during a promotional event of Sony's Bravia TVs in Mumbai, India. Sony Corp. is doing booming business in India, dominating in flat-panel TVs and digital cameras, and is in good shape to keep growing in coming years, a top executive said Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

(AP) -- Sony is doing booming business in India, dominating in flat-panel TVs and digital cameras, and is in good shape to keep growing in coming years, a top executive said Friday.

Sony's success in India - where a new middle class is snatching up gadgets - is a bright spot for the Japanese electronics maker that's getting beaten in North America by U.S. rival Apple Inc. and Co. of South Korea.

Sony Corp. has No. 1 market share in in India at 34 percent and digital cameras at 40 percent, according to the maker of Bravia TVs and Cybershot cameras. Sony is also No. 1 in India in home theaters and camcorders.

"We don't rely on tricks or gimmicks to rise to the top," Masaru Tamagawa, managing director of Sony's India unit, told reporters. "India is a success that can be held up as an example."

Sony has lost money in its core TV business for six years straight, and is on its way to another year of red ink in TVs for the fiscal year ending March 2011.

But Sony boasts a strong brand image in India thanks to generous advertising spending. It also has good relations with the many small and medium-sized retailers across the nation of nearly 1.2 billion people, which reflects years of hard work, Tamagawa said.

Sony doesn't target newcomers into the middle class - which it defines as starting at an annual income of $4,000 - who may buy 22 inch TVs. Instead, it aims for higher income groups of at least $10,000 a year, who can afford TVs 32 inches and bigger.

Middle class Indian households are expected to outnumber the total number of Japanese households by 2012. Those earning between $10,000 and $20,000 a year number 10 million households already in India, according to Tamagawa.

Before 2007, when old-style CRT TVs were popular, Sony controlled just 10 percent of the Indian market. Since then, the company has tripled annual advertising investment.

India's TV market is expected to grow to 4.5 million or 5 million units during the fiscal year through March 2012, up from nearly 3 million now. Sony is hoping to get about 35 percent of those sales, which would total 1.7 million TVs.

Sony's India success underlines how Japanese manufacturers, which have stumbled since the financial crisis in established markets like the U.S., can count on India, China and other fast-growing countries to bolster growth.

Sony said it's beating not only Samsung and Apple in India, but also LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea as well as Japanese rival Panasonic Corp. in brand recognition.

Tamagawa brushed off the threat of Apple, adding that he is counting on to come up with attractive tablet products to rival Apple offerings by the time Indian consumers are ready to buy them.

"We are confident we can compete," he said.

Explore further: Nintendo launching 'amiibo' with 12 characters (Update)

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sony optimistic on 3-D TVs, in-house display

Nov 26, 2009

(AP) -- A third to a half of the Sony Corp. TV sets sold annually will be packed with 3-D features by the year ending March 2013, a senior executive said Thursday.

Sony working on 3-D TVs that don't need glasses

Aug 26, 2010

(AP) -- Sony Corp. is working on 3-D televisions that don't need special glasses, joining a race with rival Toshiba Corp., but sees cost and technological hurdles to overcome before they can go on sale.

Sony aiming for black as annual loss shrinks

May 13, 2010

(AP) -- Sony Corp., maker of the PlayStation 3, stayed in the red last business year but predicts a return to profit as restructuring and an aggressive 3-D rollout bear fruit.

Sony to roll out 3D TVs in Japan in June

Mar 09, 2010

Sony said Tuesday it would start selling 3D televisions in Japan in June, aiming to ride a new wave of interest in the technology thanks to recent movies such as sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar".

Recommended for you

Chinese e-commerce rivals challenge Alibaba (Update)

13 hours ago

China's biggest property developer, Wanda Group, and Internet giants Baidu and Tencent unveiled a new e-commerce venture Friday in a challenge to industry leader Alibaba Group ahead of its U.S. stock offering.

Nigeria launches national identity card scheme

Aug 28, 2014

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday launched a national electronic identity card scheme, which backers said would boost access to financial and government services in Africa's most populous nation.

User comments : 0