Sony India May Set up Plant in NE; to Launch Super-Premium Mobiles

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Electronics major Sony India today said it may set up a manufacturing facility in North East as it looks for more than 20 per cent sales growth in the country in 2017-18.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese major Sony is also looking to enter the ‘super-premium’ mobile handset category by launching products in the range of Rs 50,000-Rs 1,00,000 before Deepavali this year.

“At present, talks are going on with different states. We do not deny the possibility of setting up of a plant in North East,” Sony India Managing Director Kenichiro Hibi told PTI here. Without sharing details, he said many states have approached the company for setting up the proposed plant.

Asked by when the decision to set up the plant is likely to be made, Hibi said: “Talks are going on. This will be in future.”

Sony India currently produces TV sets and recording devices in India through contract manufacturing in Tamil Nadu. Hibi said the new manufacturing facility may be owned by the company, but the final decision has not been made yet.

He said the company is expecting robust business from the Indian market, especially the growing North Eastern region, on the backdrop of uncertain business scenario in Europe and the US.

“Sony India business continue to grow. We expect to close the current financial year with 20 percent growth. We are confident that in 2017-18, we will have more than 20 per cent growth. At present, global market is little shaky, but India is most comfortable. The African market is also growing,” Hibi said.

Talking about the impact of demonetization, he said sales were down in November and December last year, but have picked up again from January.

Talking about its mobile handset business, which is not performing well, the Managing Director said Sony India has changed its focus from mass segment to premium category from later part of 2015.

“Our mobile phone category was doing well till 2014. But after that many Indian and Chinese brands entered the market and started offering products at below Rs 10,000, our sales went down. In 2015, we decided to focus only on the premium category and not chase volume. So, now our product line-up starts from above Rs 15,000 level although it constitutes only five per cent of the market,” Hibi said.

Hibi said that Sony has launched its super premium series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. Those sets will be reaching India before Deepavali and priced between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,00,000.

On investments, Hibi said that the company has put in Rs 550 crore in promotional and marketing activities during 2016-17 financial year across the country.

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