Sony returns to the OLED camp after a lapse of ten years to set foot in educational robots

AsiaIndustrial NetworkNews: Just when the outside world thought that the Japanese electronics giant was in the sunset, Sony told “I’m still here” with its performance of returning to the growth track.

On the afternoon of March 27, at the “Sony Charm Awards” held in Guangzhou, Sony announced the official launch of the OLED TV A1 in the Chinese market. Returning to the OLED TV camp after a lapse of ten years, Sony (China) Chairman and President Takahashi Hiroshi told China Business News that this reflects Sony’s high-end product strategy, and after ten years of hard work, the civilian use of OLED technology has matured.

Sony returns to the OLED camp after a lapse of ten years to set foot in educational robots

While sticking to the consumer electronics market, Sony has also set foot in new areas.In the Chinese market, Sony launched the Programmable Education Program for the first time this year.robotKit KOOV. Takahashi revealed that this was developed by Sony last year and is currently only sold in Japan and China. The purpose is to cultivate children’s creativity, especially to stimulate children’s programming talents.

In the third quarter of the 2016 fiscal year (October-December 2016), Sony China’s sales revenue returned to the growth track, with a year-on-year increase of 12.8%. get re-growth. Takahashi said that this is due to focusing on high-end products, targeting affluent, fashionable and young target customers, streamlining the organization and reducing operating costs.

The goal of Sony China in fiscal year 2017 is to grow sales revenue and profits, both exceeding the growth rate of local GDP. Takahashi revealed that after Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou, Sony will open its fifth directly-operated store in China in Shenzhen in the second half of this year. In addition to electronic products, component business such as image sensors will be the most potential growth point for Sony China in the future.

Talking about OLED: Sony is not limited by the panel

As early as 2007, Sony launched the world’s first OLED TV, but has been focusing on LCD TVs since then. Why did Sony return to the OLED TV camp after ten years?

In an exclusive interview with a reporter from China Business News, Takahashi said that after the product was launched ten years ago, Sony did not stop developing OLEDs. In the fields of medical care and broadcasting, Sony has been providing OLED monitors. Second, there are technical problems. After ten years of hard work, the previous technical problems have been solved, and OLED panels can be mass-produced and applied to Sony’s products. Coupled with Sony’s technology accumulation in TVs, such as processing chips, Sony can choose to make LCD TVs or OLED TVs. Currently, Sony positions OLED TVs as high-end products.

Since the beginning of this year, the confrontation between quantum dot TV and OLED TV has been fierce. Sony was also the first in the industry to apply quantum dot backlight technology to improve TV picture quality, but now it has returned to the OLED TV camp. However, LGD is currently the only supplier of OLED TV panels in the world, with limited upstream resources and high costs. Sony OLED A1’s 55-inch and 65-inch products are priced as high as 24,999 yuan and 35,999 yuan, respectively.

In this regard, Hiroshi Takahashi said that the reason why Sony chose OLED is that by using OLED, Sony can make a unique product that integrates sound and picture and does not require external speakers. Sony does not have its own panel factory, but is not restricted, and other technologies are also constantly trying.

Talking about educational Robots: not ordinary toys

Sony, which has launched epoch-making products such as the WALKMAN, does not want to be regarded as a “hero”. While it focuses on high-end consumer electronics, it also continues to introduce new gadgets.

In February this year, Sony launched the programmable educational robot kit KOOV in Japan and China at the same time, which is refreshing. A pile of colorful plastic particles can “toss” small robots of various shapes.

Takahashi told CBN reporter that KOOV is not just a toy, programming is the core. Children can download existing software to make toys, and they can also create new methods to make different robots.

Sony returns to the OLED camp after a lapse of ten years to set foot in educational robots

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KOOV will not launch humanoid robots for the time being. Takahashi said that at present, these programmable educational robot kits are only sold in Sony’s directly-operated stores and Beijing Sony’s Dream Discovery Museum. If the conditions are ripe in the future, cooperation with schools and other institutions will also be considered. However, this year in the Chinese market, we must first “fix a good position”. KOOV is neither an ordinary educational robot nor a toy, but a combination of online programming and robots.

Talking about transformation: Global sales cost reduced by 20%

Sony, which has a history of 70 years, is similar to other Japanese electronics giants. It has also encountered a performance crisis in recent years. The consumer electronics business has suffered losses for several consecutive years. The difference is that after several years of transformation and transformation, Sony’s consumer electronics business has returned to profitability.

“All of our consumer electronics businesses are currently profitable, and Sony’s mobile phone business is also expected to be profitable in fiscal 2016.” Takahashi Yang revealed the “secret” behind it to the first financial reporter: “Our high-end product strategy is right, and the implementation is better; after the structural reform, the operating cost of the operation has dropped, and the same sales amount was at a loss before. Profit now.”

Before taking over as president of Sony (China) last year, Takahashi was in charge of managing Sony’s global consumer electronics sales. He recalled that Sony’s CFO (Chief Financial Officer) put pressure on him to reduce the cost of Sony’s global marketing system by 20%.

But at that time, each of Sony’s global sales companies had a reason to say that it was difficult to reduce costs. Hiroshi Takahashi took the trouble to say that if costs are not reduced, profits cannot be made; if profits cannot be made, services for “Sony fans” (Sony users and fans) cannot be provided. Later, Sony’s sales companies around the world repeatedly studied whether each job must be done and which ones could be streamlined.

For example, Sony used to have many directly-operated stores in the United States, but now many of them have been closed. Hiroshi Takahashi said that Sony’s directly-operated stores have high gross margins, but also high costs, and those with poor cost performance will be closed. “The process is very painful, because it will disappoint some consumers.”

The premise of streamlining channels is streamlining products. For example, Sony TV no longer produces 2K and small-size products, and 40-inch TVs are only produced in small quantities, mainly focusing on the large-screen market of 55 inches or more. The number of cooperative dealers is also reduced, and only cooperate with dealers who are capable of handling high-end products. This has reduced the number of people in Sony’s sales system and improved efficiency.

Talking about the Chinese market: the component business has great potential

Takahashi Yang has been in office in China for a year, and Sony China’s sales revenue has returned to the growth track. This also benefits from the aforementioned “select and focus” strategy. He said that if you don’t choose, your energy and financial resources will be scattered.

In the third quarter of fiscal year 2016, Sony China’s revenue increased by 12.8% year-on-year. Gao Qiaoyang said that Sony China currently has three major business segments: civilian products, professional equipment and components, among which the components business is growing the fastest.

Sony returns to the OLED camp after a lapse of ten years to set foot in educational robots

In terms of civilian products, Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras continue to expand their market share; audio products have great potential, and there are about 500 million mobile phones in use in China. If 10% of users buy headphones again, it is already a huge market; color TV business It is difficult to scale up, but China is the world’s largest 4K TV market, and Sony hopes to gain more share in the high-end market.

“Our growth strategy is to choose the combination of our own advantages and market demand.” Takahashi Yang said that Sony’s components, especially image sensors, are mainly used in smartphones. In the future, drones, security systems, vehicle systems, etc. There are needs. “This is our advantage. In addition to the complete machine, Sony components will have a lot of room for growth in the Chinese market in the future.”

In addition to hardware, Sony’s entertainment content business such as games, film and television, and music has also accelerated its pace of expansion in the Chinese market. The most eye-catching is Sony’s game business. Gao Qiaoyang said that in China’s huge game market, mobile games and computer games are the majority, and the game market for dedicated machines only accounts for 2%, while the US dedicated machine accounts for 30% of the game market. The reason is the lack of software. There are only 92 types of game software for Sony PS4 in the Chinese market, while there are hundreds of game software in the US and Japanese markets.

This situation is slowly changing. Taketo Soda, President of Sony Interactive Entertainment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. said, “China is already the largest game market in the world, but home games account for a small proportion, only 2%. I hope home games will become a new blue ocean.” He revealed that in addition to bringing foreign game software to the Chinese market, it will also cultivate Chinese game development teams. Last August, Sony Games announced the China Star Project. In addition, Sony PS4’s VR (virtual reality helmet) has sold 915,000 units worldwide, and will expand production in March this year, which will change the current situation of short supply.

Through the combination of hardware and software, Sony hopes to better stick to “Suofan”. In the second half of this year, Sony will open its fifth directly-operated store in China in Shenzhen, expanding the base for cohesive cable fans. Takahashi revealed that Sony has a membership system in its directly-operated stores. Members not only have discounts, but also can be the first to experience new products and participate in product use training. Sony has 5 million members in China.

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