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Japanese handset makers look overseas for fresh demand

25 мая 2009

Facing bleak prospects at home, mobile handset makers Panasonic and Sharp have set their sights on the vast overseas market, where the thirst for Japan's high-tech phones remains unquenched.

After launching several models in China, Sharp said Friday it is considering selling handsets in the emerging market of Brazil. Such a move would be the first time for a Japanese maker to sell handsets in South America.

A spokesman for the maker of Aquos-brand handsets said Sharp may market a phone that is capable of picking up television signals via an antenna.

Meanwhile, Panasonic also said Friday that it is considering reentering overseas markets in a bid to reinvigorate its business. The Japanese electronics maker said in 2005 it was pulling out of overseas handset sales after being muscled out of the market by larger players.

Although it hasn't decided where it will go now, a spokesman at unit Panasonic Mobile Communications said the electronics maker "will have to plant new seeds" to regain momentum.

For Japanese mobile phone makers like Sharp and Panasonic that have substantial electronics operations in other areas, untapped overseas markets could represent the promised land as they would be able to make the most of technology, such as liquid-crystal displays, used in other products in their handsets.

Due the introduction of an installment sales system in Japan that promotes consumers using their handsets longer, mobile phone makers have seen their market shrinking recently.

Handset unit shipments in Japan plunged 30.1% from a year earlier, to 34.643 million in the year ended March 2009, according to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association.

In the fiscal year ended March, Sharp saw its handset sales contract 34.6% to 9.92 million units, while Panasonic sees revenue in its handsets and infrastructure operations declining 14% to Y336.5 billion in the current fiscal year.


Источник: Total Telecom

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