Sony Mobile Communications in the Middle East and North Africa is planning to expand its products to address the medium-price segment in the Egyptian market during 2017. According to the regional director of the company, Younis Al Sharqawi, the company will start offering its new product, the Xperia L1, which belongs to this price segment, in Egypt in June.
This came on the sidelines of the Xperia 960 event in Dubai on the occasion of the company’s launch of its new Xperia XZ Premium. He said, in his interview with Daily News Egypt, that Sony accounted for 10% of the market share of mobile phones’ sales in the high price category, which starts at $200.
What are the main topics of your plans in the Egyptian market during 2017?
We have a clear strategy trough, where we will continue to focus on the premium and high-priced segment, which requires sophisticated and modern technologies, in addition to expanding our products to include medium-priced categories.
This year, we will begin expansions in the mid-price smart phone market by launching the Xperia L1. Over the past year we did not have a phone that meets the needs of the medium-priced segment of consumers, and it is expected that we will launch the new phone in June. Additionally, we will re-launch new versions of some of the products that succeeded on the Egyptian market, such as the Xperia X and XA Ultra—the company aims to launch them in June as well.
How do you view the sales growth of the mobile market in Egypt?
The Egyptian market achieved growth in terms of the financial value of the total sales and in the total numbers of products sold until November. After the flotation of the pound in November, the market faced a significant decline in sales, but then sales started to grow again in February, according to the indicators and reports we have received from specialised research institutions.
The stability of the dollar price has contributed to the stability of prices in the Egyptian market where traders and agents are used to price their products on a weekly basis due to the currency instability post flotation.
What are your expectations for the growth of the Egyptian market in 2017?
The growth is greatly related to the dollar price stability. The Egyptian market has many growth opportunities, as the spread of smart phones has not exceeded 70% in the Egyptian market, which means that 30% of users do not have smart phones, which is a major growth opportunity. Moreover, telecommunication companies are preparing to launch 4G services, and users will need to purchase phones that support the service.
What is your market share?
We have a 10% share in the top-price smart phone category, which Sony is addressing. The products’ prices in this category start at $200.
Your products are famous for being expensive. Does this affect your sales?
Our current products mainly address two categories: the high and medium price categories. If you compare our prices to other competitors, you will see that our prices are fairly low. We do not offer our products for the lower-price categories unlike our competitors. There is 70% of the Egyptian market that we do not address.
The Ministry of Communications has a plan to encourage the local manufacturing of mobiles, and some companies have taken serious steps in this regard. Does Sony have a vision for locally manufacturing its products?
Currently, we do not have sufficient knowledge regarding the legal aspect or sufficient information to see a point in local manufacturing. Until the vision is entirely clear, we do not have plans.
What is the importance of the Egyptian market in the region?
The Egyptian market is the most important in the Arab region and the Middle East, despite the current challenges for the country. It has a great economic value, because there are more than 90 million consumers who need modern technology, mostly youth. Additionally, the local market lacks new smart phones, which provide 4G services.
The company’s plans for 2017 focus on the Egyptian market, and we have strong partnerships with many local agents and distributors for more than 10 years, as well as maintenance centres in Cairo and other governorates.
How do you view the competition in the Egyptian market, especially after the emergence of many new mobile companies in Egypt?
The Egyptian market saw more competition over the last two years, but we target a certain segment of consumers, and we have a competitive advantage in this segment.
What are your plans for after-sale services?
We have two agents: Delta and Rizkallah, which run three after-sale services centres in Cairo and Alexandria. Additionally, we have maintenance and technical support centres in other governorates.
Do you plan to hold partnerships with mobile network operators in the local market?
We actually have partnerships with the three mobile operators in the Egyptian market (Vodafone, Orange, Etisalat). We provide an offer that includes purchasing a SIM card with a headset from Sony and a smart watch.
What are the main features of the company’s new phone that was launched today?
I’m happy to announce that the Xperia XZ Premium will be available in the Middle East by the end of May.
The Xperia XZ Premium features Sony’s new Motion Eye™ camera system, which offers the world’s first 960fps super slow motion video capture and playback, four times slower than any other smart phone. Its camera is so advanced that it captures motions the human eye can’t see, a beautiful 4K HDR display, super-fast download speeds, a stunning loop design and even more intelligent features.
The Xperia XZ Premium has won over 30 accolades and awards including “Best New Smartphone or Connected Mobile Device at MWC 2017” at the annual Global Mobile Awards (Glomo Awards) from GSMA.