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Day 6 - IFA International

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  • Berlin
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  • September
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Exclusive Interview

Exclusive Interview “One Sony is the next stage – driving the machine forward – to appreciate and leverage our mutual strengths as convergence becomes a reality.” Sony Europe’s New Directions Creating a holistic culture between content and hardware is a main priority The new President of Sony Europe, Masaru Tamagawa will implement the corporate priorities for Sony’s turnaround here in IFA’s backyard. His promotion follows his success as MD of Sony in the ultra-competitive Indian market. IFA international interviewed Tamagawa about what we can expect for Europe from Sony… Masaru Tamagawa President of Sony Europe My priorities are to focus and invest in three core areas; digital imaging, mobile, and gaming, as well as an ongoing revitalization of our TV business. Our key business objective – in Europe and around the world – is to secure sustainable and profitable growth. We need to ensure consumers have amazing experiences whenever they encounter Sony’s products, services and entertainment, and that they recognize Sony’s strengths in a very crowded and competitive market. What is different about the way you approach the market in Europe? We have to adapt to very different economic conditions and varying rates of demand in each territory across Europe. In spite of that, we have to steer a steady path in two ways. One is to ensure Sony’s operations are performing efficiently and continuing to innovate in manufacturing, R&D, content and distribution, sales and marketing. The other is to put customers first when we communicate what makes Sony different. The new catch line is “One Sony.” What is One Sony (as opposed to Sony United)? Sony United was about breaking down barriers and silos between the different parts of Sony. It was a rallying cry to transform the network of different businesses in Sony into an efficient machine, in which all of the components contributed to profitable, sustainable growth. One Sony is the next stage – driving the machine forward – to appreciate and leverage our mutual strengths as convergence becomes a reality. That means that our devices should create opportunities for our content companies to reach audiences in new ways, and our content should drive consumers towards products that bring the entertainment to life. How are consumer preferences and behaviour evolving? There has been more change over the past 10 years in consumer preferences and behaviour than in the previous 100 years. Today’s generation of consumers can barely remember an era without mobile communications or life without the internet. What we see is greater demand for inter-connected devices and mobile products. The Sony Entertainment Network is an integral part of Sony’s resurgence. How important is this element, and how is it tying-in across different product categories? Sony Entertainment Network is integral to the One Sony plan. It is a way of ensuring that all of our content and devices are synchronized to maximize ease-of-use and access to the great content we are creating in music, movies, TV and gaming. We want to remove the hassle, reduce the number of steps that it takes to access content. Hall 4.2 Stand 101 14

Exclusive Interview Leveraging Brand Equity Haier aims to be among top 5 TV suppliers in Europe by 2013 Haier is best known in Europe as a white goods brand, but the company’s TV business is growing fast thanks to some elegant designs and leaving certain features out, says Christophe Chancenest, Marketing Manager Brown Goods and TV Sales, Europe... [ Interview by Richard Barnes ] We have been the number one vendor of fridges, wine coolers and washing machines - in volume terms - throughout Europe for the past three years, thanks to which people know the Haier brand. So in one sense, TVs are a diversification for us, but from the point of view of leveraging that brand equity, it’s very positive to be a known and trusted supplier with a very different product category to propose. And because we consider that Haier is a global as opposed to a Chinese brand, it’s important that we broaden our product categories in as many territories as possible. What are your future ambitions for the TV market? We want to be a top 5 European TV supplier by 2013, which means that we need a 5% market share. Currently we have distribution in the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Eastern Europe and the Benelux, with Italy the strongest market. We started the year with 2.6% by volume but the latest data from the end of the first quarter shows that we are already up to 5%. The TV market is very competitive right now, so how do you differentiate your products? It’s not easy because on a pure manufacturing level, about 90% of the components in TVs are the same, but part of the Haier group is the largest molding producer in Asia which gives us access to huge resources, and design is an area that we innovate in. The EDGE Z18 introduced earlier this year, for example, is very elegant and comes in a black lacquered case with a glass stand in 39” to 46” screen sizes, and it has proven to be very popular. Then we also innovate by leaving things out rather than packing in ever more features, so we have a range of TVs that don’t feature either 3D or Internet connectivity. 3D is understandable given the lack of content, but why no internet connectivity? We decided to do this when we discovered that only 20- 25% of all smart TVs are connected to the Internet. Partly, that is due to retail not being geared up to properly demonstrating it, and partly because most people already possess devices that already connect to the web and do it much more easily. How important is IFA to Haier’s European operations? It’s the biggest event for us because it’s where we get to show how much the products have improved, as well as meeting dealers and the press. So from both the communications and business angles, it’s hugely significant. On the stand there are transparent TVs that we introduced last year, plus we have developed a headset that allows control Christophe Chancenest Marketing Manager Brown Goods and TV Sales, Haier Europe of the sound and can change channels using the impulses from a person’s neurons. It’s not something for the living room but the implications for disabled people are huge. Hall 3.2 Stand 134 “We want to be a top 5 European TV supplier by 2013, which means that we need a 5% market share.” About Haier With group global headquarters based in the Chinese city of Qingdao, Haier has regional headquarters in both Paris and New York, serving its clients in Europe and America. Haier has 61 trading companies, 29 manufacturing plants, 8 design centres and 16 industrial parks with 70,000 employees worldwide. Haier specialises in technology-led research, manufacturing and trading a large range of durable products - within Europe these include: televisions, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, consumer electronics and energy saving home solutions. FUTURE ZONE The transparent interactive refrigerator was another innovation highlighted at IFA. Haier has developed a prototype of a refrigerator which reveals its secrets with simple touch. When touched with a fingertip, the tactile screen activates and becomes transparent, allowing the user to see the contents of their fridge without having to open the door. With an identification function this new refrigerator can even keep a record of food items stored inside it including all sorts of data such as expiry dates. www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Wednesday 5 th September 2012 15

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