Sony enthusiastic, looks to restart factory in India
On a day PM Narendra Modi announced the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Japanese electronics giant Sony said it may finally re-establish a factory in India as the company is “enthusiastic” about making the country as a manufacturing base.
“Sony is committed to the Indian market and we welcome the recent initiatives by the Indian government, including inviting foreign companies to manufacture in India. While no decision has been made yet, initiatives like these have made Sony’s management enthusiastic about looking at India as a potential manufacturing base,” Sony India MD Kenichiro Hibi told TOI.
Sony used to manufacture in India earlier, but shut its facility in 2004 as it preferred to import products from plants in Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan. A relatively-smaller business size in India at that time did not justify a production facility as the company found it more efficient to import, especially in view of India’s free-trade agreements with some of the countries.
But, Sony’s business has been growing in India at a time when some of its key markets in the West are not giving encouraging results. Sony’s rivals like LG and Samsung, the Korean giants, are already making products in India.
Hibi said the Indian government has taken several “progressive steps” in simplifying regulatory procedures. Sony India expects a 20% growth in revenues this year at Rs 12,000 crore. The company on Thursday introduced its top-of-the-line Xperia ‘Z3’ and ‘Z3 Compact’ smartphones in India, priced at Rs 51,990 and Rs 44,990 respectively. “The Xperia smartphones have garnered a market share of close to 10% (in value terms) within 14-15 months of the launch of Xperia Z last year. The phone business contributed 30% to our overall sales last year and we expect this to go up to 40% in 2014.”