Wed, Jul 09, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Asustek debuts ZenFone 5 LTE; Sony talks tactics

STEALING SHARE:The head of UX at Sony Mobile told reporters in Taipei that his firm is measured in its efforts against smartphone titans Apple and Samsung

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) yesterday said it expects to ship more smartphones this month after selling about 105,000 ZenFones in May and more than 200,000 units last month.

With the ZenFone 5 ranked as the bestselling smartphone locally for two consecutive months, the company hopes the wider ZenFone range “will remain the bestseller in July,” following the launch of its first 4G long-term evolution (LTE) handset, Asustek’s corporate vice president Benson Lin (林宗樑) said.

The world’s fifth-largest PC vendor yesterday introduced the ZenFone 5 LTE, as the company pursues larger market share amid consumers’ migration to 4G networks.

The ZenFone 5 LTE has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz quad-core processor and costs NT$6,990 (US$233) for a 16GB model, undercutting models with similar specifications from competitors, such as Sony Corp’s Xperia M2 at NT$9,900, and HTC Corp’s (宏達電) Desire 610 at NT$7,990.

The company also revealed the PadFone S LTE version. The 5-inch smartphone starts from NT$9,999 and supports wireless charging.

Lin said the company’s previously reported supply issue has been resolved and Taiwanese consumers can receive their new smartphones within a day if they order online.

The company had a local smartphone market share of between 14 and 16 percent in May and became the largest smartphone brand in the local market last month, Lin said.

Chief executive officer Jerry Shen (沈振來) said Asustek has targeted China’s Xiaomi Corp (小米) as its main competitor in the budget smartphone segment and is confident about its own competitiveness, as Asus smartphones are well received in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia.

Asustek in May told investors that it expected to sell 5 million to 10 million smartphones this year.

Separately, Sony Mobile Communications AB said yesterday it plans to take a step-by-step approach rather than launch a global campaign to boost its global market share at the expense of bigger rivals Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc.

Kaz Tajima, senior vice president and head of UX Creative Design and Planning at Sony Mobile, said the Japanese handset maker needs to challenge “two giants” in the global smartphone market, referring to Samsung and Apple.

“At Sony, we have a kind of market-by-market approach. If we try to fight those two giants everywhere, it’s impossible,” Tajima told a press briefing in Taipei.

“But as a challenger, we pinpoint the market, identify the market and take a two-digit share ... stealing share from those two giants,” he said.

Sony Mobile has successfully applied that strategy to become one of the top three players in Japan, and the company has also been ranked among the top three smartphone vendors in Taiwan, Tajima said.

There are now almost 10 markets globally where Sony has achieved a market share of more than 10 percent, including Spain, Russia, Sweden, Hong Kong and India, he said.

“So we would like to increase that kind of market one by one — not having a full fight, one-by-one approach — to achieve this performance,” Tajima said.

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