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Phone maker aims to strengthen its foothold in the Chinese market

By Li Qiaoyi (Global Times)

09:45, January 13, 2012

Sony Ericsson is eyeing more opportunities in the growing Chinese marketplace for smartphones after Sony’s acquisition of Ericsson’s share in the joint venture, which is expected to be completed in the near future, the company’s China head said Wednesday.

The company will leverage the best of Sony’s assets to aim for a stronger presence in the smartphone arena, Magnus Ahlqvist, president of Sony Ericsson China, said in an interview Wednesday, while announcing its first Xperia smartphone from Sony, showcased at the CES this week.

Sony announced in October last year that it plans to purchase the remaining 50 percent of its joint venture with Ericsson for $1.475 billion.

The buyout deal is expected to be finished in about a month, according to Ahlqvist.

China’s marketplace for smartphones, which overtook the US’s No.1 spot in the world’s smartphone market in the third quarter of last year, has growingly become a battlefield for handset makers from both home and abroad.

International brand names such as Apple, Samsung and Motorola have all attached increasing importance to the Chinese market, while domestic brands including HTC, Huawei and ZTE have also endeavored into larger presence in the market, making competition in the world’s most populous market growingly intensified.

"Although Sony Ericsson’s market share in China is still not on par with manufacturers such as Samsung and Nokia, its further leveraging of Sony’s advantages, particularly in entertainment, offers more hope for the company,” said Wang Ying, an analyst with Beijing-based Analysys International.

In the third quarter of last year, Sony Ericsson held a 4.3 percent share of China’s smartphone market, compared to Samsung’s 24.5 percent and Nokia’s 18 percent, according to the research agency.

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