Wednesday, August 27, 2014: Japan’s largest consumer electronics exporter, Sony Corporation, is quite serious about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech which asked foreign companies to “come, make in India”. India is the fourth largest market, following China, the US and Japan, for Sony. But the company, which is famous in India for its flat panel televisions and gaming consoles, has no manufacturing unit in the country as of now.
Modi’s stress on local manufacturing has impressed Sony bosses as it also matches the Japanese manufacturing theory. Sony India’s managing director Kenichiro Hibi said that the recent initiatives of the Union government predicts a turnaround in the Indian economy. Sony is also considering India as a potential manufacturing base in future and all latest developments are closely monitored by Sony’s top management. Hibi said, “Sony is looking at India for longterm growth. While no decision has been made yet, the potential products for manufacturing in India could be both flat-panel televisions and smartphones. We have been thinking for the last few months about starting manufacturing in India, but the evaluation has now been accelerated with the policies of the new government.”
Modi has no plans to visit Sony Corp president and chief executive Kazuo Hirai during his forthcoming trip to Japan. But Sony officials have emphasised that this official tour will strengthen India-Japan business relations and more Japanese investment will be invited to India. Most of the Sony products, available in India, are sourced from Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan. For past two decades the company has been ruling Indian market and it also had a manufacturing facility which was shut down in 2004. This fiscal year the company is targeting Rs 120,000 million sales in India. Hibi said, “We have grown by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter (in India) and with the improvement in consumer sentiments, we expect this growth will continue and can eventually surpass our target.” In the electronics sector, Sony rules divisions like LED televisions, smartphones, digital cameras and audio accessories. Recently a manufacturing investment has been done by Japanese firm Panasonic in India, to be followed by Daikin, Sharp and Hitachi soon.