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Sony expected to challenge Apple in mobile

(China Daily)

13:29, September 24, 2012

Visitors try personal 3D viewers at the Sony Corp booth in Chiba City, Japan. (Photo/China.org)

Sony Mobile Communications AB will win enormous opportunities in China's smartphone market if the company always focuses on the right products, is quick to respond to market demand and is speedier in innovation, according to Sony Mobile's top officer in China.

The Chinese smartphone market is extremely "tough and intense", said Magnus Ahlqvist, president of Sony Mobile China. "The market has all the international players, as well as a number of Chinese rivals who also perform actively," Ahlqvist said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

After the Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp bought out Ericsson AB's half of their 10-year-old venture for $1.3 billion in February, Sony Mobile has become a wholly owned subsidiary under Sony Corp and is acting as a pillar for the company's turnaround plan.

With China being the world's biggest smartphone market, with an expected smartphone shipment of more than 164 million units this year, Sony Mobile regards it as a key customer and focuses more on it now, he said.

"Sony Mobile tries to ensure it does very deep analysis on the Chinese market. Then we can have a good assessment of what are the opportunities going forward," Ahlqvist added.

Unlike Samsung Electronics of South Korea, which has a complete product line covering all price levels, Sony Mobile's products were mainly targeting mid- to high-end segments. Of all the global brands competing in China, Sony Mobile had about 60 percent of its smartphones sold at a price of more than 2,000 yuan ($315), behind only Apple Inc and Research In Motion, according to a study conducted by Barclays.

However, the majority of Chinese people can only afford a smartphone with a price tag of between 700 yuan and 2,000 yuan, which means Sony Mobile has ceded the lion's share of the booming Chinese smartphone market to Samsung and local competitors.

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