Sony targets Africa as its next hub


Sony, the leading consumer electronics and entertainment brand, unveiled its extensive blueprint for expansion across the African continent. Defined by a rigorous 360 degree immersion plan, Sony will look to transform the African consumers’ experience in the electronics sector through launching the latest technology products, introducing experimental Sony brand stores, and setting up authorized service centers in almost every country in Africa.
On the operational front, Sony plans to establish new zonal offices in Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola, employing local human resources and identifying new business partners with the capacity to compliment the Sony growth strategy in Africa.
The announcement, which came at a press conference in Cape Town, South Africa, highlights Sony’s global ambitions and the significance it places on Africa in the international marketplace.
Speaking at the conference, Hiroyasu Sugiyama, Managing Director of Sony Middle East and Africa, said “Africa is undoubtedly one of the most important markets for Sony. By 2015, we hope to achieve a USD 1.4 billion share in the consumer electronics space, including the fast-growing mobile phone business. The numbers certainly look exciting, but our immediate focus is to identify tactics that help us move towards our target. The Sony roadmap for Africa constitutes a four-pillared strategy based on ‘product’, ‘customer’, ‘community’ and ‘operation’.” Recognizing the demand for its top-of-the-line products in local markets, Sony aims to synchronize its international launches to include the African continent in its entirety. From the award-winning Sony Xperia Z smartphone, the XPERIA tablet and the BRAVIA 4K TVs to the world’s most powerful audio system, the Shake 7 stereo, Sony will look to reduce the wait-time and increase the availability of its products, especially those tailored for African consumers. Incidentally, Sony stands number one in the audio products category in Africa, commanding a market share of over 40 percent. Looking to transform the experiential prospects for African consumers, Sony is also set to roll-out its unique branded stores, Sony World, in key markets to give potential buyers a chance to see and feel the unmatched quality of its products. The first of these open-display stores has been successfully launched in Cote D’Ivoire.
Sony’s attention to quality does not end at the point of sale, with the brand announcing the launch of 67 authorized service centers in the continent this year that will be increased to 87 centers by March 2014.
Sugiyama also said “Africa is a vast continent, and we understand that it is made up of different and diverse countries with many languages and cultures that require localized communication. We are moving fast to satisfy these requirements and preferences through vehicles such as a multi-lingual Sony website in Africa’s predominant languages including French, Portuguese, English and Arabic. We are also looking to launch a dedicated Sony Facebook page for Africa.”
Over the years, Sony has extensively engaged with the African community with campaigns that propose the company’s goal to work ‘With Africa’. These include initiatives such as the South Africa Mobile Library Project in partnership with non-profit organization South African Primary Education Support Initiative (SAPESI). In addition, Sony has partnered with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, and Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) to implement highly successful public cinema-viewing projects in Tanzania, Ghana and Cameroon.
Speaking on Sony community initiatives, Sugiyama said “We at Sony believe that we must be a part of the local community wherever we do business. Ever since its inception in 1946, Sony has endeavored to provide amazing entertainment experiences through our products that inspire and fulfill our consumers’ curiosity. We continue to replicate this guiding philosophy that is embedded in our DNA across all the community-focused initiatives that we deliver globally.”
Sony’s new expansion plan is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to its long term vision for Africa. At a time when the region’s electronics market is evolving rapidly, with more and more users looking for intelligent solutions to match their entertainment needs, Sony is poised to deliver an extraordinary offering to suit varied expectations, and bring the ‘Best of Sony’ to every corner of the African continent.