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Sony plans major African expansion

Sony has unveiled its blueprint for expansion across the African continent, looking to transform consumers’ experience through launching the latest technology products, brand stores, and setting up 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, a statement from the company said.

The announcements, which came at an exclusive dealers’ conference in Cape Town, South Africa, highlight Sony’s global ambitions and the significance it places on Africa in the international marketplace.

Hiroyasu Sugiyama, managing director, Sony Middle East and Africa, said: “Africa is undoubtedly one of the most important markets for Sony. By 2015, we hope to achieve a $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’.”

Recognising the demand for its top-of-the-line products in local markets, Sony aims to synchronise 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 per cent, the statement said. In South Africa alone, one in two customers seeking audio products has been found to opt for Sony.

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 quality of its products. The first of these open-display stores has been successfully launched in the Ivory Coast, it said.

The brand has announced the launch of 67 authorised service centers in Africa this year that will be increased to 87 centers by March 2014.

“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,” Sugiyama added.

“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’ as opposed to ‘For 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.

Other community support projects include Folktales in Malawi, a joint initiative with the Malawi National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and the Global Future Charitable Trust (GFCT), to protect and preserve the heritage of intergenerational story telling in print and audio formats.

The widespread Eye See Digital Photo Project headed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) was additionally extended to children in Rwanda, Liberia, Madagascar, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mali and Tunisia to give them a voice of expression through photography.


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