Sony China and Xiaomi to Team up on 4K in World’s Biggest UHD Market

by on August 28, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – August 28th, 2014

Sony China made an announcement on August 7th that it will team up with Xiami Box and Wasu Media to launch a new ultra HD 4K TV line in China, the world’s largest market for 4K TVs today.

In recent months, Sony has made a wide range of internal reforms aimed at making up for revenue losses in recent years. These include selling off its Vaio line of laptops and launching Sony Visual Product independently in July of this year. According to executives for the company, Sony also plans to complete an e-commerce reform before 2015 rolls around as part of these same revenue boosting reforms.

Sony TV however, has been profitable and in the first half of 2014 saw earnings of over 682 million US dollars.

Part of the evolution of Sony TV is its expanding market of 4K UHD content that has been culled from other sources or remastered into native Ultra HD resolution by Sony Studios, the massive electronics company’s media and film entertainment arm.

The ongoing expectation is that, as 4K TVs and video content expands in popularity and scope, Sony’s leadership position as the manufacturer of 4K TVs with access to the largest library of native 4K video will continue and ensure a powerful sales edge against competitors such as LG and Samsung who make their own versions of TV sets with the same resolution.

Currently, China, Japan and the U.S are the biggest markets for Sony and it is estimated that 8 to 10 million 4K TV units will be sold in China alone in 2014. According to Nobuki Kurita, president of Sony China, the main goal of the company is to increase sales of Sony TVs and 4K TVs in China fourfold from what they were in 2013 by the end of 2014. Given that Sony currently controls 20% of the UHD TV market in China and that China is the fastest growing market for 4K TVs, this quadrupling seems quite attainable.

However, in order to accelerate the process and hedge their bets, Sony is teaming up with Xaiomi Box, Wasu Media, Tencent, Baidu Music and Baidu photo in an effort to improve the range of 4K content and 4K content use options in its UHD TVs sold in the country’s markets. While the company previously focused on the visual and sound qualities of its Ultra HD TVs as a promotion pitch, the new focus is going to be on expanded content, which the company will develop through these assorted partnerships.

By teaming up with Xaiomi Box, for example, Sony TVs will become connected with the media box in a way that allows users to play and download 4K Sony content through a Xaiomi user interface and shared remote control that operates for both the box and the Sony TVs themselves.

Given that the useful lifespan of TV content today is less than one year, the joining of the Sony TVs to the Xaiomi Box will make frequent upgrades of new videos and movies much more efficient and automatic.

Currently, the cheapest 4K TV on the Chinese market costs a very affordable $654 USD and will be released to consumers in the country as of September of this year. Along with the TV itself, the internal Sony UI platform will come with dozens of preloaded 4K upgraded movies, movies which are expected to be regularly updated with new additions thanks to the Xaiomi Box partnership.

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