Sony Xperia X Performance-17

Sony has confirmed it will focus its future efforts in India on flagships rather than mid-range and entry-level devices. In an interview with The Times of India, Sony India’s Vijay Singh Jaswal told the outlet that “we aim to launch flagship products for our customers in India which will further enhance our presence in the market.”

It’s no secret that the affordable mid-range and entry-level smartphone business is cut-throat, with major players from China like Xiaomi aggressively targeting developing markets. Apparently Sony has decided it cannot compete on that front any longer and will apply the same flagship-focused approach it has introduced elsewhere to India as well.

While flagship phones offer enticingly higher profit margins, their potential audiences are also much smaller. Especially in less flagship-obsessed countries like India. In India, value for money is the name of the game, and spending close to a thousand dollars for a flagship simply doesn’t deliver the same bang for your buck as a device from Xiaomi, Lenovo, LeEco or OnePlus.

Chinese Roundup (S 2015)-9

So while the move falls in line with Sony’s broader approach to streamlining its product line to focus on flagship products, it also carries with it a lot of risk. If Sony can’t convince Indians it should be the flagship manufacturer they turn to, they could be looking at having an incredibly small presence in the country (Sony reported just 0.3% growth in India year-over-year).

But the average spend on Sony smartphones in India increased by 55%. This is the trend Sony is banking on: sell fewer devices at higher premiums. It may work, but Sony will need to rethink its approach in the region to deliver the kinds of features the Indian market wants. Something Samsung and LG have clearly shown they are willing to do with their ‘Make for India’ devices.

Do you think Sony’s approach will work? What kind of features would a Sony flagship for India need?