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Sony, Sharp Set Off LCD TV Price War in Korea
Oct 5, 2005
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Japanese electronics makers, including Sony Corp. and Sharp, are making aggressive inroads into the Korean liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market, ditching their decades old premium price strategy. Some Japanese brand LCD TVs are selling at lower prices than the Korean brands that are gaining popularity among consumers worldwide. Sony Korea began to sell its 32-inch FWD-LX1 LCD TV for 2.7 million won (approx. U.S. $2,600) since September 20.

Although Sony's Korean subsidiary limited the offer of its 32-inch model to 500 units, it is very rare for the Japanese firm to provide such a great price discount for its latest TV model. Sony introduced the 32-inch FWD-LX1 in Korea for the first time in the world. Taking into account that the price range of Samsung Electronics' 32-inch models hover between 2.5 million won (approx. $2,400) and 3.1 million won (approx. $3,000) and that of LG Electronics between 2.9 million won (approx. $2,800) and 3.1 million won (approx. $3,000), the price barrier between Japanese and Korean brands no longer exists.

"Sony arranged the special bargain sales event for the 32-inch model to meet Korean customers' demand for large-sized LCD TVs before we officially launch BRAVIA models here," said Sony Korea spokesperson Woo Hae-na. "But such event does not mean that Sony has abandoned its premium price policy for its LCD TV products and we have not decided on the price policy for BRAVIA models."

Sony Korea plans to peel the wraps off its new LCD TV brand BRAVIA models it recently launched later this year in Korea and unfold aggressive marketing campaigns to widen its market share in the 26- to 40-inch segment of the large-sized LCD TV market. The company plans to set the price for its new BRAVIA models in a flexible manner considering the market situation of Korea. Sony staged a special discount event that shaved off more than 1 million won (approx. $960) from the tagged retail prices for its plasma display panel (PDP) and projection TVs last July, and extended the event following better-than-expected response from consumers.

Sharp also eliminated the price gap between its 32- and 37-inch LCD TVs and those of its Korean rival brands last May. Price of 32-inch model was trimmed from 3.45 million won (approx. $3,300) to 2.78 million won (approx. $2,700) and that of 37-inch model from 4.98 million won (approx. $4,800) to 4.48 million won (approx. $4,300). Moreover, Sharp rolled out its new 32-inch model LC-32GA5D at the end of September for 2.35 million won (approx. $2,300), slashing the tag price by 15 percent from previous 32-inch products. LC-32GA5D, which includes embedded digital set-top box. As Sharp is making a special offer to Korean consumers that purchase LC-32GA5D, bundling the TV with a free air purifier, the price mark down is practically much bigger than it seems. The Japanese electronics giant also lowered the price of its 45-inch LCD TV from 7.28 million won (approx. $7,000) to 6.28 million won (approx. $6,000) on October 1.

"With Samsung and LG countering Japanese LCD TV makers' low price strategies, the downward LCD TV price trend is forecast to further accelerate in the future. TV makers chose to sacrifice their profit margins to expand their pies as the global LCD TV market has recently revealed a strong growth trend," said an official of the Korea Electronics Association. (The Korea Times)

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