Source: eKapija | Friday, 25.11.2011.| 15:50
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Andrea Gal, CEO of Sony Ericsson for Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania - Focus on smartphones in the future

Andrea Gal
Andrea Gal (Photo: b)

As of next year, the company Sony Ericsson plans to focus on the production of smartphones, which now account for 80% of the company`s sales, Andrea Gal, the recently appointed CEO of that company for the markets of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, reveals in an interview for eKapija.

The black market "eats up" 30-40% of the profit in this sector. However, as Gal explains for our web portal, telephones sold in the black market in our region are not copied, but smuggled into the country and sold without VAT included in the price.

eKapija: Justlike most mobile phone brands and IT industry, Sony Ericsson has had a bigdownfall of finances over the last few years due to economic crisis. There weresome layoffs. What’s the situation today?

- Wedelivered a solid 73 million Euro improvement in income before taxes as werebounded from the previous quarter with a 33 percent increase in sales.Android-based Xperia™ smartphone sales now account for more than 80 percent ofsales and we have shipped 22 million Xperia smartphones to date. We will continueto invest in the smartphone market, shifting the entire portfolio tosmartphones during 2012.

eKapija: Howbig is the black market problem and how do we fight it?

Andrea Gal
Andrea Gal (Photo: b)

- Theindustry estimate is approximately 35-40%. Measures need to be taken locally in terms ofcustoms fee as well as VAT collection.

eKapija: WhichSony Ericsson product is the most copied one?

- Phonesin the black market are usually not copied. They are original Sony Ericssonphones, which have been purchased abroad and smuggled into the country and soldwithout VAT included in the price.

eKapija: Whatnew products can we expect from your company in the future?

- As ageneral company policy we do not comment on future products and only announce newproducts when we are ready to do, but we can confirm that Xperia product linewill have even more focus in the future.

eKapija: Whatare your plans for Serbia and what are the plans for the region?

- SonyEricsson is a communication entertainment brand so we want to become thesmartphone vendor that gives the consumers the best of Sony entertainment. Weare already on this track, our new Xperia products are bringing Sony’sexcellence in imaging with Exmore R cameras, in screen technology with MobileBravia Engine displays. We will continue on this track in the future even more.

Andrea Gal
Andrea Gal (Photo: b)

eKapija: How isyour cooperation with Serbian mobile operators in terms of implementation ofyour services/phones in their offer? Can you compare that cooperation with thosein other countries in the region?

- Sales inthe Serbian market are heavily subsidized by operators. We are investing injoint marketing and the level of that investment is playing a big part inoperator’s ranging decisions. The relationship with the Serbian operators isexcellent and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in the future.

eKapija: How toughis competition in the mobile phone market in our region?

- Thecompetition in the region is stronger than ever, but we believe our portfolio iscompetitive enough to fight back, especially with the Xperia range. As of 2012we focus entirely on Xperia smartphone handsets which constituted already the80% of our sales in 2011.

eKapija: Howmuch the regional markets you are now managing lag behind the market that youwere previously in charge of?

- I have managed territories of a similar size inmy career before. What makes the job really interesting is the cultural diversity you find in thisgeographic area. Our strategy is to bring Sony Ericsson Xperia™ as the onlysmartphone that gives you access to the worlds of both Android and Sony intoone beautiful and easy-to-use device. The ambition is to be one of the keyproviders of Android devices in each of the markets.

J. DJ.
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