Taro Kimura, Managing Director, Sony MEA, speaks on the future plans

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What’s the latest in Sony Middle East? What are the plans you’re working on, and what are your priorities for 2018?

As a business, Sony Middle East and Africa continues to grow and exceed our expectations. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region represents a key growth market for us across several product segments – including Televisions, cameras and audio products.

We will focus on our expanded product line-up in 2018 and look at growing our existing customer base by 20 per cent in the region.

What makes you so optimistic?

In the past five years alone, the number of internet users has grown rapidly in the MENA region, stimulating the demand for smartphones and other consumer electronics devices.

Dubai’s electronics market is forecast to exceed $3 billion by 2020 on the back of portable consumer electronics that is expected to continue its lead with sales forecast of $1.27bn over the next four years, according to the figures from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Keeping this in mind, last year, we launched 25 new TV models in the region, but this year we have as many as 35 TV models lined up. Sony’s expanded product line up is targeted to consumers of all demographics.

We also heavily invest in research and development in order to ensure that each successor device that is released into the market is further enhanced and even more innovative than its predecessors.

Sony delivers products that are tailored to the requirements of each specific market in the region, as well as customer preference.

We believe that a combination of all these factors puts us in an enviable position in this market.

When it comes to your marketing strategies, how is the Middle East different from other markets of Sony?

The Middle East market is one of the most dynamic markets in the world – with a relatively young population, hungry for innovative products. Therefore, in order to achieve our ambitious plans for the region, we have to re-engineer our operations and develop strategies that suit the market.

Our marketing strategies are a combination of product, place, price and promotions and these are the four core components we focus on to maximise our marketing strategy in the region. We aim to offer our customers the best experiences with our innovative products, while encouraging them to appreciate their unique value.

Any particular interests of customers in this part of the world that is different from other markets? How they use Sony as a brand?

In this day and age, consumers in the region are looking for seamless experiences with brands and products. They are definitely more evolved than they were a few years ago and have high expectations from brands.

The perception of our consumers is very high and so are their expectations from Sony. We value the love and trust for Sony and on our part; we always do our best to deliver and to exceed our customer perceptions.

Is there any particular product you have launched earlier or are planning to launch, especially keeping in mind the customer tastes of this region?

A number of countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are home to a young and tech-savvy population that often look to upgrade their devices and keep up with the latest innovations – and Sony aims to deliver products that are aligned with customer tastes and preferences.

As the spread and influence of technology continues to be a key driver of change across the globe, consumers are adopting a more modern, convenient lifestyle with technology as a key enabler.

In keeping with this, we have recently launched three new types of headphone models: the headband style WH-1000XM2, the behind-the-neck style WI-1000X, and the truly wireless WF-1000X.

Each of these three 1000X series models boast industry-leading noise-cancellation levels for Bluetooth headphones. Customers in the region can choose one of three styles, all of which do away with the inconvenience of having to constantly remove the headphones or to adjust the volume, instead allowing them to fully immerse themselves in a high-quality audio experience.

Going forward, what will be your priority areas? You have launched these new audio products, so can we expect some visual products now, as you said, new launches are expected?

Sony is committed to developing a refreshed line-up of products each year to cater to evolving consumer needs. The television category is a key driver for business growth and an integral part of our product strategy for 2018.

Which is why, we are planning to launch our new TV product range in the region during the first half of the year. We are positive that our business development strategy will place us in a strong position to gain market share in our focus categories – which are television, digital imaging and audio products.