More focus on mobile handsets

Consumer electronics and information technology products manufacturer Sony India on Wednesday said it will invest Rs 550 crore this year in expansion and marketing plans.

A substantial amount of this will be spent on scaling up the mobile business.

Retail expansion

Sony India had invested similar amount last year in expansion and marketing its new products.

The company will increase its retail outlets to 16,000 shops by next year from 10,000 now. Some of the outlets will be exclusively for the handset business. Sony had earlier bought out Ericsson’s stake in that business.

Sony India Managing Director Kenichiro Hibi told Business Line that the mobile business contributed to around 15 per cent of Sony India’s revenue of around Rs 6,300 crore last year and it is expecting better contribution this year. The company expects 40-45 per cent growth in its overall revenue this financial year.

He said the company’s strategy is not only to add value to the mobile business, but also to integrate all mobile devices such as tablet personal computers and other electronic items.

On competition from Samsung, Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia, Hibi said: “We have to fight them. But, at the same time what we should not forget is that we have a uniqueness of Sony brand in India and utilise that strong proposition for the mobile business as well.”

The company, which already has a portfolio of premium handsets, has now also come out with mid-range products in the smartphones category. Sony has a suite of around 20 smartphones priced between Rs 9,999 and Rs 35,000.

Sony India has around 1,000 engineers in its Bangalore centre who contribute to developing applications and features on India-specific handsets and also for global products, he said.

New smartphone

On Wednesday, the company launched its latest smartphone – Xperia tipo, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system with storage of up to 32GB, in addition to a free 50GB cloud offer from Box.

The handset has applications such as music and videos on-the-go. The devices will also be available to Vodafone subscribers with an exclusive offer of 500 GB a month for three months valid till December 31.

The Xperia tipo is priced at Rs 9,999 for single SIM and the dual-SIM model is priced at Rs 10,449. The company will launch 6-8 more models over the next six months.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 26, 2012)
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