The Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Sony recently opened its exclusive showroom at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur. Masaki Matsumae, President of Sony Regional Market Development Centre was in Nepal for the opening. Krishana Prasain of New Business Age caught up with him to talk about, among other things, Sony’s market in Nepal, future strategies and upcoming products. Excerpts:
What brings you to Nepal?
I am here to inaugurate the new Sony showroom. Also, I will be promoting our latest products such as headphones and cameras. I really appreciate the support from our Nepali customers to our products.
How important do you think Nepal’s market is for you? How have the recent events affected the consumer electronics market?
Nepal has a considerable population with a lot of tech-savvy young people. So we see huge business potential in the country.
Nevertheless, the Nepali economy took a serious hit after last year’s devastating earthquake and people are still struggling against fluctuations. I really appreciate the will of the Nepalis to withstand the odds. I agree that the market will recover soon from the adverse situation. With our Nepali distributor Nepa Hima Trade Link, we will continuously approach our customers and develop our market here.
What are the latest features in Sony products?
The X-Reality Pro system in the television segment adds more visual clarity to low-quality source. In smartphones, the significantly improved battery life and cameras with advanced Sony sensors are major features. Similarly, the newly introduced headphones with MDR sound produces high resolution audio offering the users with real studio music feel.
What’s the best-seller in Nepal?
Bravia television is the best selling Sony product in Nepal. Similarly, the business of Sony mobile handsets is also very good here. We started selling mobile phones in Nepal from 2013 and have been trying continuously to promote the Sony Xperia brand in the Nepali market.
The Nepali market in recent years has been flooded by different consumer electronics brands. How tough is the competition for Sony?
The brand loyalty of Nepali customers towards Sony is very strong, especially in the television segment. Our quality products have been well received by our customers here for a long time. We have a lot of strength and are firmly confident about the Nepali market. We believe that we can easily compete with others.
Nevertheless, Sony over the past few years is seen lagging behind its competitors in consumer electronics sales. Don’t you think it’s time for the company to re-think its marketing strategies?
In the case of the Nepali market, the sales and branding of television is still strong. We want to develop a new category of business such as introducing the latest high-end Sony headphones, earphones and cameras targeting the youth. We are very competitive in terms of the sales of our products.
How do you think the opening of exclusive showrooms like this helps Sony to achieve its target?
I think exclusive showrooms are the best places to promote the new products for countries like Nepal. This outlet will give an opportunity to our customers to access and feel the latest Sony products with proper information. I believe that this showroom will largely help us in terms of sales and branding.
Can you share some of Sony’s future plans for Nepal?
Our brand in the Nepali market will grow especially among the young generation. So, we are trying to invest more in the new category of products that are suitable for the youths. We will soon be launching Sony’s Alpha range of cameras which are known for their best quality images, new updated version of 4K TV along with a new series of Xperia smartphones.