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Sony content to remain far behind competition in U.S. and China, will try to compete in Europe and Japan

News by Andrew Kameka on Friday October 11, 2013.

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Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has publicly stated what anyone paying attention to his company for the past five years already knew: the U.S. market is not a priority for Sony's smartphone efforts; Europe and Japan are areas that command the most attention.

Speaking to Reuters, Hirai stated that Sony is prepared to concede competition in the U.S. and China to other manufacturers because it will try to be more competitive at home and in Europe. Since taking the helm at Sony, Hirai has on multiple occasions expressed a desire to become the third-biggest smartphone vendor; however, the company will not push forward into the world's two biggest markets as part of its plan to achieve that goal. Hirai said:

"[Europe and Japan] are the most important areas for us and we'll put substantial resources there. But not yet for the U.S. and China. It's not realistic to try to do everything at once. In the U.S. we'll start gradually."

Hirai's comments make sense because 60 percent of Sony's sales are done in Europe and Japan. The company shipped 3.7 million smartphones in Western Europe during the second quarter, an 85 percent increase compared to the same period last year. IDC reports that Sony has already achieved third place status in terms of market share. While Sony has announced several handsets for Europe, it has released only one or two phones in the U.S. each year. The Sony Xperia Z launched on T-Mobile months after it was available globally, and there hasn't been a single release on any other U.S. carrier since 2012.

Sony needs to be more successful in the U.S. and China to secure third place among smartphone vendors, so its current plans to keep pumping resources into a place where it already has recognition may puzzle some. The logic behind the decision is that Sony must solidify its position and latch on to growth in the places where its efforts have already taken root. Unfortunately for Sony, the lack of availability in the U.S. and China will all but ensure it won't come close to third place any time soon.

source: Reuters

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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