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Sharp set to implement new branding strategy

Japanese CE vendor to introduce new branding initiatives in the Middle East

Japanese consumer electronics vendor Sharp has unveiled new regional branding and expansion initiatives as part of its bid to increase its presence in the Middle East markets.

The initiatives include the development of a new Sharp branded logo specifically designed for the Middle East and plans to reopen country-based offices in a bid to get closer-to-market in key territories.

“It’s my belief that to be a powerful brand in any market, we must show our full commitment to that market,” said Tomio Isogai, managing director of Sharp Middle East.

“We will demonstrate this by reopening offices in Saudi Arabia, South Africa during the fi rst half of 2007. We are also looking at the possibility of opening a new facility in Iran in the latter half of the year.”

Isogai also revealed that the company had negotiated new channel partnerships with Extra and Al Ghaniem in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait respectively.

He also revealed that Sharp was keen to strike new OEM deals with Middle East manufacturers in a bid to reduce operational costs and forge closer channel relationships across the region.

“We are seeking to collaborate with local manufacturers to produce Sharp-branded CRT TVs and distribute them to several key markets in the Middle East and Africa,” he said. “Our market research has identified strong demand for CRT TVs in many of the region’s emerging markets.

“We also plan to work in closer co-operation with the El-Araby manufacturing plant in Egypt to begin local assembly of LCD TVs, in a bid to realise our goal of selling 8.5 million LCD TVs in the region by 2010,” he added.

Isogai cited research that claimed Sharp currently occupied the number one position in the worldwide LCD market, with sales of 6 million units in 2006 and 15% global market share.

He said the company was staking its future ambitions in the Middle East largely on increased consumer demand for the technology.

Takashi Nakagawa, corporate executive director and group general manager of Sharp, said the company was gearing up its manufacturing processes in Japan to cope with the expected increase in demand.

“Our Kameyama Plant in Japan is the fi rst manufacturing facility in the world to use 8th-generation glass substrates, the world’s largest in size,” said Takashi Nakagawa, corporate executive director and group general manager of Sharp.

“If this rate of progress continues the new plant will have the ability to manufacture 22 million 32-inch LCD sets annually by 2008. It will also aid the efficient production of large LCD panels in the 40- and 50- inch range as well,” he added.

Speaking to ECN in December, Nakagawa said Sharp was on track to meet its 2006 financial targets of US$24billion in net sales and operating profit of US$1.6billion.

“If we are successful in achieving these goals, they will mark the best annual performance in the history of the company,” he said.