Sharp Aims to Sell 5 Million Handset Units in China Per Year
Published on: 5th September 2008
BEIJING -(Dow Jones)- Sharp Corp. aims to sell 5 million handsets a year in China and plans to differentiate itself in the market by going after top-end customers with high-end models, Masami Ohbatake, Sharp's general manager of overseas sales, said Friday.
Ohbatake said Sharp hopes to reach the goal of selling 5 million handsets a year as soon as possible, but declined to give a specific timeframe.
Sharp began selling a high-end handset with a widescreen liquid-crystal-display screen in China in June, and on Friday unveiled a second, motion-sensing handset for sale in the country.
Ohbatake said the handset released in June took fourth place in sales among handsets in China priced over CNY4,000 ($585), with 8.8% of the segment.
Sharp is Japan's dominant handset manufacturer, with a 40% market share and sales of 15.5 million handsets in the fiscal year that ended March 2008, but a tiny portion of its sales came from markets outside Japan.
Japanese brands have faltered in China, where Finland's Nokia ranks first in market share ahead of South Korea's Samsung Electronics and Motorola of the USA. China has the world's largest mobile phone market with over 600 million mobile phone users at the end of July, according to statistics from the Ministry of Information Technology.
In the January to July period, China's mobile phone users grew by an average of 8.7 million a month. Much of that growth, however, is coming from increasing penetration in rural areas, where low-cost handsets dominate sales.
Analysts say they expect Sharp to remain a small niche player in China.
Even if Sharp meets its target of selling 5 million phones a year, that will pale in comparison to Nokia, which sold 70.7 million phones in China last year for a total of EUR6.2 billion in revenue from that region.
-By Aaron Back, Dow Jones Newswires; (8610) 6588-5848; email@example.com
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