Update (06/29): Sony has confirmed that it’s investigating the possibility of downsizing its operations in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.
“As part of our ongoing measures to drive profitable growth, we are carefully monitoring the market situation and reviewing our business feasibility in Middle East, Africa and Turkey,” a company representative told Android Authority.
The statement comes a few days after serial tipster Evan Blass reported Sony would shut down mobile operations in the aforementioned regions. Although the statement isn’t a confirmation of a shutdown, it certainly suggests Sony isn’t doing well in these regions and is perhaps willing to cut its losses.
The news also comes as Chinese brands enjoy massive growth in the Middle East and Africa markets. According to Counterpoint Research, Chinese manufacturers saw 36 percent annual growth in the Middle East and Africa for Q1 2018. This compares to 15 percent annual growth in MEA regions for Chinese brands in Q1 2017.
Original article (06/27): According to a tweet from Evan Blass, Sony Mobile is looking to downsize its global operations. Although Sony itself hasn’t made a statement on the matter, Blass says Sony Mobile will “shut down operations and offices” in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa by October of this year.
Bad news for Sony Mobile fans in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa: I’m hearing that the company will “shut down its operations and offices” in the region by October.— Evan Blass (@evleaks) June 27, 2018
Sony’s mobile phones are often criticized for dated designs and poor marketing campaigns, which is likely part of the reasons why the company’s share of the smartphone market is small. However, Sony phones usually have terrific build quality and high-end features which have created a small-but-loyal fanbase.
But this rumor from Blass combined with other recent news (such as Sony’s blame of poor Xperia sales on its own failings) suggests that Sony Mobile will at the very least get a major shakeup in 2018.
It could be that Sony is looking to refocus its efforts for its mobile division by centering only on its core fanbase. Or it could be that the company is pulling out of markets where high-priced flagships don’t do as well as mid-range and budget devices.
Or it could be that Sony Mobile is simply bleeding out and will eventually fold. We don’t know.
If Sony Mobile is in fact not doing well, you wouldn’t know it by the recent news that its Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium will sell for an outrageous $999. Perhaps Sony could do better if it priced its devices more reasonably.