Local Business

Panasonic smartphones soon in UAE by end-2014

Abdul Basit
Filed on August 17, 2014

Panasonicís smartphones are Android-based, but the company is also planning to launch smartphones running the Windows Phone OS.

Japanese tech giant Panasonic has planned to introduce its smartphones in the UAE by the end of 2014, managing director for Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa Shinichi Wakita told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Last year, the consumer durables maker introduced its smartphones and feature phones categories in India where the company also recently launched its Eluga U smartphones with an aim to control a five per cent market share of a more than 1.2 billion population.

Panasonic’s smartphones are Android-based, but the company is also planning to launch smartphones running the Windows Phone OS.

Panasonic smartphones soon in UAE by end-2014 (http://www.khaleejtimes.ae/images/wakita_0817.jpg)“We started in India as a Panasonic brand and the response has been very good,” Wakita said, adding that “India is a very important market and that’s the reason why it is also international headquarters for the phone business for the company.” Smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to more than 44 million, as per research firm IDC. In the first quarter of 2014 alone, 17.59 million smartphones were shipped in India with sales being driven by affordable devices.

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority revealed statistics for the first quarter of 2014 and announced that 52 per cent of handsets registered on the country’s networks were smartphones. The Japanese consumer durables maker sells televisions, air-conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators, beauty products and is also very popular for its corded and cordless phones, among others.

“Now we are focusing on mobile phones and smartphones. Our strategy is to bring smartphones from India to this region,” Wakita said. “It’s under planning stage and expected to come to this market in October or before the end of 2014,” he explained.

Wakita mentioned that the company is shifting its focus from quantity to quality and will introduce more innovative and high-quality televisions, cameras and other products.

“We are No.1 in kitchen appliances, beauty and healthcare products in the Middle East, but unfortunately losing business in white goods. This year we are working to come back in this segment,” he said.

Talking about sales, he said it’s much better than last year so far. “Our sales are increasing in every country, especially in the GCC.” He specifically mentioned about Oman and said: “It’s not a big market but sales are increasing very fast.”

Talking about the wider Middle East market, he said that Pakistan, Iran and Iraq are potential markets. Regarding expansion plans and new markets, he said that Africa is on the agenda.

“Before, Africa was under the Japan side and we got it last year. The market is very big and we have four regional offices there — Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa,” he explained.

— abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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