Sony, Xiaomi chan­nel the young back to TV

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - ByWANG ZHUOQIONG wangzhuo­qiong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

As watch­ing TV dra­mas and play­ing games on mo­bile de­vices have be­come pop­u­lar among young con­sumers, tra­di­tional TV pro­duc­ers are ea­ger to pull them back to the liv­ing room by work­ing with In­ter­net ser­vice providers.

Son y China Co Ltd an­nounced plans to co­op­er­ate with Xiaomi Corp, known for its smart­phones and smart TVs, dur­ing the launch of its 4K me­dia player, which can down­load 4K qual­ity movies and other vis­ual con­tent.

4K TV of­fers four times the res­o­lu­tion of high-def­i­ni­tion TV and is de­signed es­pe­cially for very large screens.

“In this so­cial net­work­ing and mo­bile world, how to bet­ter grasp and sat­isfy the needs of young con­sumers has be­come a com­mon topic for Sony,” said Nobuki Kurita, pres­i­dent of Sony (China).

“In China and other coun­tries, the habits of watch­ing tele­vi­sion among the young gen­er­a­tion have changed,” said Kurita, who joined Sony in 1979 dur­ing the age of the Walk­man.

One of their ef­forts to lure young cus­tomers is to em­brace the lead­ers in the In­ter­net field. Sony China has col­lab­o­rated with Xiaomi on In­ter­net ser­vices, which means Sony’s TV re­mote can also op­er­ate Xiaomi’s TV set-top box.

Sony will also lever­age gam­ing busi­nesses to sell big screen sets.

“Gam­ing busi­ness is one of the in­cen­tives to at­tract young peo­ple to re­turn to the liv­ing room and re­vi­tal­ize theirhome TV. It is a great ex­pe­ri­ence to play games on a big screen in­stead of a cell phone,” said Kurita.

As one of the key three mar­kets for Sony, along with Ja­pan and the United States, Sony China has fo­cused on dig­i­tal its its vis­ual, tele­vi­sion and au­dio to tar­get high-end prod­ucts and the young gen­er­a­tion, he said.

Sony Vis­ual Prod­uct Inc started to op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently from the group in July in order to make quick ac­tions in re­sponse to mar­ket changes.

He said Sony’s first-quar­ter re­sult showed the re­form of elec­tronic busi­ness well on track with sales in­creas­ing by 5.8 per­cent and prof­its reach­ing 69.8 bil­lion yen ($682 mil­lion). The TV busi­ness alone gen­er­ated a profit of 7.9 bil­lion yen and the Chi­nese mar­ket was a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor.

Kurita said Sony will fo­cus on high-end tele­vi­sion units with big­ger screens and 4K tech­nol­ogy— an area that has not shown any signs of slow­down. The sales of its 4K tele­vi­sion is ex­pected to rise four­fold from 2013 and ac­count for 20 per­cent of the to­tal rev­enue, he said.

Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try sta­tis­tics, sales of TVs with 4K tech­nol­ogy will reach 4 mil­lion units this year.

Sharp Corp, an­oth­erTVpro­ducer, an­nounced plans ear­lier this year to trans­form from a tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion pro­ducer to high-res­o­lu­tion TV sets with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of In­ter­net play­ers.

It has also ex­panded its range to lower-end prod­ucts to tar­get new con­sumers and those in third- and fourth-tier mar­kets.

Peng Xian­dong, gen­eral man­ager of con­sumer elec­tron­ics de­part­ment of China Mar­ket Mon­i­tor Co Ltd, a mar­ket re­search com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in home ap­pli­ances, said it is an ir­re­versible trend that an in­creas­ing num­ber of con­sumers are us­ing mo­bile ter­mi­nals rather than sit­ting in the liv­ing room and watch­ing TV.

What is work­ing is to em­brace the trend by pro­vid­ing a bridge to chan­nel what is on the mo­bile phones or iPads back to theTVscreen. The link be­tween mo­bile phones and TV is where the fu­ture lies, said Peng.

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