Sony, Matsushita Bring Competition to South Korea
May 24, 2004
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Japanese electronics companies Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial are bringing their domestic rivalry to South Korea.

Matsushita rolled out two new digital cameras through its local subsidiary, Panasonic Korea, last week and is planning to introduce 28 other products, including camcorders and home theater systems, this year.

Sony currently ranks among the top two players in South Korea's digital camera, camcorder, and home theater markets, indicating that Matsushita's entry into the market here is mainly targeted at its Japanese rival, industry observers said.

"In South Korea, Matsushita posted 120 billion won (approx. U.S. $101.7 million) in electronic goods sales last year," said a Panasonic Korea executive. "The market environment is not favorable, but we are determined to attain 20 percent growth by focusing marketing on plasma display panel TVs and digital cameras," he said.

Like Sony, Matsushita is also actively seeking to participate in a variety of social contribution projects in South Korea.

In what appears to be a counterattack, Sony launched two notebook PC models through its local subsidiary, Sony Korea, in Seoul last week.

At a local launch ceremony, Sony vowed to expand the concept of its notebook brand "Bio" to digital convergence products and disclosed a plan to roll out portable music players here this year.

"We are little concerned about Panasonic Korea's marketing strategy due to a wide difference in product lines and experience in the Korean market," a Sony Korea official said.

Sony plans to manufacture a number of high-tech products, including camera phones, at its plants in South Korea from 2005, according to a recent press statement from its Korean unit.

Sony Korea will make car video systems outfitted with LCD monitors at its plant in Masan, about 390 km southeast of Seoul, which is currently producing conventional car audio systems. Sony is also pushing to build a liquid crystal display-TV plant in South Korea, following the recent establishment of a joint venture LCD plant with local Samsung Electronics Co. (Yonhap)

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