Sony Ericsson, which is the number two in India’s handset sales with a market share of 8.1 per cent, is set to increase its presence in the country with an increased focus on research and development with an emphasis on designing India-specific products, Hideki Komiyama, President, Sony Ericsson, told Hindustan Times.
Sony Ericsson is following the footsteps of towering market leader Nokia, which, in addition local design, also assembles handsets in India. Both Nokia and Motorola have already set up design centres in Bangalore.
Sony Ericsson, which also plans to expand retail and distribution work in India, had set up its R&D facility in Chennai in October last year and has outsourced manufacturing to contract manufacturer companies Flextronics and Foxconn.
“The headcount at the R&D facility at present is 30 and the company plans to hire about 200 people at the facility by the end of this year,” Komiyama said. Company officials did not disclose investment figures.
The company unveiled its first four “Made in India’ handsets, T270, T280, R300i and R 306i at a global event held in New Delhi on Thursday. Around 300 top managers of the company attended the event, reflecting that India is important as a market for the company.
The company also plans to more than double the number of handsets manufactured in India. On the distribution and retail end, Sony Ericsson has about 58 “experience” stores at present where users can get a hands-on experience of the handsets and accessories, across the top 12 cities in India. “We plan to have experience stores in across in 35 cities and about 1500 store-in-store outlets in these towns by this year end, a 50 per cent increase over last year” said Sudhin Mathur, General Manager, Sony Ericsson India. “We want to increase the number of experience stores to 300 by the end of 2009,” he added.
The company shipped about 103.4 million handsets globally in 2007.