KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — It appears that Sony Mobile is almost as good as dead since it has announced its withdrawal from several markets worldwide. This comes after Sony had announced a consolidation of its Xperia mobile division with its TV, audio and camera business under a single Electronics Products and Solutions division.

During Sony’s Corporate Strategy Meeting which was held a few days ago, it was revealed that Sony’s mobile business will be focusing only in Japan, Europe, Taiwan and Hong Kong, as illustrated in the slide above. The same slide also shows a vast number of defocused regions in red which is practically the rest of the world. This includes South-east Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Oceania, Africa and South America.

We’ve seen this coming as Sony Mobile has stopped releasing new devices in Malaysia for quite some time now. The last Sony Mobile event to be held in locally was for the Xperia XZ2 and the last model to be sold here was the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

It also appears that Sony Mobile had pulled out from Indonesia much earlier and the last device to be sold there appears to be the Sony Xperia Z5. Indonesia used to be a stronghold for Sony Mobile as they were the #2 brand in 2013.

According to Sony’s FY2018 report, they had only sold 6.5 million smartphones which equates to just 0.46% market share. As a comparison, the former brand, Sony Ericsson, used to sell 103.4 million phones in 2007. The mobile brand was renamed to Sony in 2012 when they introduced the Xperia S.

Despite the aggressive retreat, Sony assures that they are not giving up completely in the mobile business. According to a recent report by Reuters, Sony Corporation still sees mobile as an indispensable to its brand portfolio despite calls from investors to sell off the money-losing operation. The mobile business had reported an operating loss of ¥97.1 billion (RM3.7 billion) for last year.

According to Sony Corp’s President and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, “We see smartphones as hardware for entertainment and a component necessary to make our hardware brand sustainable”. He added that “younger generations no longer watch TV. Their first touch point is smartphone.”

To make their business profitable in the next financial year, Sony has ceased production in China and they will beef up their gaming capabilities of its smartphones to tap customers of its successful PlayStation gaming segment. The company aims to reduce operating cost by 50 per cent and overall cost by 57 per cent in FY2020 versus FY2017.

At the moment, their hero product is the Sony Xperia 1 which was announced during MWC 2019. It features a 4K OLED display and a triple-camera setup. With this latest development, don’t expect to see Sony smartphones with the official warranty in our region very soon. Perhaps Sony will return once they become profitable again but looking at the competitive landscape, it is going to be extremely challenging.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below. — SoyaCincau