11-09-2017 Haider Ali Khan
SONY HAS BEEN CONSTANTLY EVOLVING ITSELF IN DESIGN, RESEARCH AND INNOVATIONS TO STAY AHEAD AS A PREMIUM DOMINANT PLAYER IN THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE AND CLUTTERED INDIAN MARKET. KENICHIRO HIBI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SONY INDIA INTERACTED WITH HAIDER ALI KHAN OF MY MOBILE STRESSING THAT SONY IS NOT WARY OF THE COMPETITION AS IT KEEPS ON DELIVERING THE FUTURISTIC PRODUCTS WITH PREMIUM TECHNOLOGY TO THE CUSTOMERS. EXCERPTS…
Where does Sony India stand in the market today as far as mobile handset segment is concerned and how are you looking at the future potential?
Sony has for long been committed to the Indian market, offering the finest products to the country across its categories. With a wide range of innovative and premium products, we always strive to deliver best in class services to our customers.
We have recently expanded our portfolio with multiple additions of futuristic products like XZ premium, XZs, XA1 and XA1 Ultra under both premium and mid segment. Our latest smartphone in the premium segment, the XZ Premium, boasts the world’s first 4K HDR display and 960 frames per second of slow motion video recording that no other smartphone offers. We are also the first brand to launch a smartphone with Snapdragon 835 processor in India.
The smartphone sector has witnessed an evolution in both the mid and premium segment with unique features and quality being incorporated in every offering. Sony today stands as one of the leading brands to produce technologically superior smartphones and provide newer experiences for the customers. We are focused towards building a powerful presence in the smartphone segment and expecting even bigger and better results in future.
How has been response to the premium smartphones launched recently by Sony?
With incorporation of industry-leading technology in our new age smartphones, we have once again been successful in winning the heart of our customers. All our recently introduced smartphones have received a very positive response from our customers including our latest flagship, the Xperia XZ Premium, which has been awarded as the ‘Best new Smartphone’ for 2017 by the GSMA.
Sony will continue to drive its presence with a strong focus on premium smartphone segment and would like to offer smartphones focused on experiencing the uniqueness of Sony Technologies in the areas of Camera, Display, Battery life and the User Interface. We aim to enhance our loyalists by introducing more consumer friendly products in the coming future. We are happy with our sales performance and expecting sales as per the internal targets. Our aim is to be recognized as one of the premium smartphone brand in the country and through our advanced smartphone range, we achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Earlier Sony used to dominate the sub-20K market in India but now you’re almost absent in this segment? What has been the reason?
Currently in India, a large chunk of the market is between Rs 10,000 -20,000. Entry level smartphone market has become extremely competitive in the last two years and many foreign brands have started pushing inventory in India.
We have established ourselves as a “Premium” brand player in the country. By premium, we mean that the focus is to offer cutting edge-technology and innovation that only Sony could offer to its customers.
With an aim to alleviate the midrange smartphone scenario in India, we have recently introduced two budget smartphones XA1 and XA1 Ultra priced at Rs 19,990 and 29,990 respectively that features beautiful borderless design, two great cameras that are worthy of high-end premium status and octa-core processor. We will continue to strengthen this segment with more innovative and pocket friendly smartphones packed with latest technologies.
What do you feel that Japanese companies like Sony, which has a strong legacy, does in order to protect themselves from the onslaught of the Chinese and Korean OEMs?
Sony is not wary of competition as we have our own unique strategy in the country. We are our own competitors as no other brand can boast of the technology and innovation that we bring to our products.
We are consistent in fueling the market with the most innovative and premium products, which is backed by very strong sales, marketing and customer sales service. Therefore, the focus is not to compete with the foreign and local brands but to retain and enhance loyal Sony users by communicating product benefits which only Sony can offer.
Our smartphones are being developed in collaboration with all units of Sony in order to get the best of Sony technologies. In India, Sony stands ahead of competition by introducing industry leading technologies such as 4K HDR screen, 960 fps slow motion recording, 835 Snapdragon chipset in its smartphones. We also have an R&D unit that invests in developing new technology which we are putting in our smartphones to achieve a higher level of customer satisfaction. Such an objective cannot be met if we were to operate in the volume business unlike other brands.
What could be the next big thing form the technology giant Sony when it comes to innovation?
Sony is known for its ever-evolving product offerings across segments. We aim to provide consumer products emphasizing on experiencing the uniqueness of Sony Technologies with distinctive features.
Talking about our latest offering, we have recently introduced the much awaited premium flagship line-up of BR AVIA OLED TVs aimed at redefining the future of home entertainment. With cutting-edge TV technology, optimal brightness levels and stunning visual experience, these televisions are designed with focus on the lifestyle TV concept for our customers. In terms of latest innovations, BR AVIA OLED packs a unique sound technology with Acoustic Woofers, thereby being the world’s first large screen TV producing powerful sound from the screen itself. Further, in our Digital Imaging category, we have recently launched the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera, the new a9, that offers a level of imaging performance through high-speed, blackout-free continuous shooting, shutter speed of up to 1/32,000 second and much more.
We will continue to establish ourselves as a premium brand player, focusing on Sony’s key strengths like Camera, Display & Audio technology.
Sony’s core strength in India has been the TV panels. How do you see the growth potentials and how can you leverage that into smartphone business?
We at Sony always believe in offering unique product proposition to our customers in India. Our TV segment has been the backbone of our business and is doing extremely well currently.
Sony is a leader in the 4K HDR technology and we aim to redefine the premium 4K TV segment. Sony is the first one to introduce 4K HDR TVs in India which promise to deliver the most superior picture and sound quality. We continue to add value proposition through our products that will provide customers with a new value. We have recently introduced our new flagship smartphone, the XZ Premium, which is the world’s first smartphone with a 4K HDR Display. Sony has made it possible for its customer to bring TV like viewing experience in its smartphone by using Sony’s native BR AVIA TV technology. We are always excited to bring new experiences to our customers by introducing technologically superior products and newer experiences. Our futuristic approach helps us garner prime growth potentials through our brilliant products across categories.