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Sony to target 10 mn flat-TV sales in 2007/08

Written by: Staff

Tokyo, Dec 5: Sony Corp. said it aims to raise global sales offlat-screen televisions by two-thirds in the next business year byfocusing on larger sizes and higher-resolution screens to defendagainst price falls.

Sony will boost flat-TV sales to 10 million in 2007/08, up fromits official target of selling 6 million liquid crystal display (LCD)TVs in the current year to March, Takashi Fukuda, senior generalmanager of Sony's flat TV business group, told Reuters in a recentinterview.

LCD is one of the two major types of flat-panel TVs along withplasma displays. Sony has effectively pulled out of the plasma TVmarket, concentrating on LCD TVs.

''Shipments are growing in the third and fourth quarters, and theend-of-year shopping season is promising good results,'' Fukuda said.''We will return to profitability in the second half as planned.''Separately, another Sony executive said on Monday that U.S.

sales of electronics have been better than expected so far thisholiday shopping season, fueled in part by strong demand for flat-panelTVs.

If Sony can secure 15 percent of the global market of about 70million LCD TVs next year, then it will be able to make its salestarget, Fukuda said.

U.S. research firm DisplaySearch forecasts global demand for liquid crystal display TVs would hit 71.39 million units in 2007.

In unit terms, Sony held an 11.1 percent share in July-September,trailing rivals Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and PhilipsElectronics NV, according to DisplaySearch.

But in terms of revenue, Sony came second after Samsung with a 15.2 percent share of the global LCD TV market.

Despite strong demand as customers snatch up the sleeker flat TVs,overcapacity has triggered steep price falls, squeezing Sony's margins.

Fukuda estimates flat-TV prices have been falling at a rate of 25to 30 percent a year, and said it was difficult to forecast how muchfurther they would fall.

Sony's strategy is not to cut prices, which would exacerbate pricefalls, but to add value with bigger TVs with high-definition displays,Fukuda said. Sony also seeks to market its TVs with Sony's otherproducts like high-definition DVD recorders and its video and digitalcameras, he said.

''There is a limit to cost cuts,'' Fukuda said. ''When prices fall20 percent, and if we don't add value to sustain prices, companiescan't continue doing business.'' ''It is necessary to create a pricerange that sustains the Sony brand.''


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