Sony pulls out of India's smartphone market

29, May. 2019

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA - Intense competition has caused Sony Corp. to quit the smartphone business in India, with the Japanese technology giant attempting to streamline its global operations amid sluggish sales and declining profits.

Its wholly owned subsidiary, Sony India Pvt. Ltd., ceased sales in India, one of the world's major markets, in March.

Sony also halted smartphone sales in Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania and other South Asian markets in March as it looks to shift its focus to Japan, Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan “to drive profitability and future prospects in the 5G era,” it said in a statement Monday.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant said it will continue to explore the possibility of re-entering markets it has abandoned, including India, in the future.

Sony's smartphones struggled to gain traction in India, seizing a market share of just around 0.01 percent, according to the Indian unit of Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a global research firm specializing in mobile and technology products.

“Sony is mainly present in the country's premium smartphone segment” which accounts for just 5 percent of the total, Tarun Pathak, associate director of the Indian arm, said, adding this segment is driven by brands like Samsung, OnePlus and Apple.

The Indian market is dominated by China's Xiaomi and South Korea's Samsung, the two brands combining to take a market share of over 50 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the International Data Corporation.

The average price paid for a smartphone in India is around $160, whereas the premium end of the market is above $500. IDC says the mass segment is between $100 and $200.

Smartphone shipments in India totaled 137 million units in 2018, more than 10 percent of the world's total, up from 6 percent five years ago, according to Canalys, a major global technology market analysis firm. (NNA/Kyodo)