NEC of Japan Is Exiting Market for SmartphonesBy ERIC PFANNER August 01, 2013創新乏力，NEC宣布退出智能手機領域ERIC PFANNER 2013年08月01日
once the leading cellphone maker in Japan, said on Wednesday that it
would quit making smartphones, acknowledging that it had failed to keep
pace with the likes of Apple and Samsung Electronics.
retreat in the face of competition from an American and a South Korean
company highlighted the country's shift from electronics industry leader
to laggard over the course of the last decade.
were late to enter the smartphone market, and we were unable to develop
attractive products,” Isamu Kawashima, the chief financial officer of
NEC, said at a news conference here. “That's what it comes down to.”
other Japanese phone makers, NEC clung to old-fashioned flip phones —
great for making phone calls, taking pictures or playing simple games,
but not for much else — as rivals elsewhere were developing smartphones
that put the entire Internet and more in users' pockets. The first NEC smartphone did not appear until 2011, four years after Apple's iPhone.
strategic failure left NEC with hundreds of millions of dollars in
losses as its share of the Japanese cellphone market slipped into the
single digits. It also landed yet another blow to corporate Japan's once
vaunted reputation for innovation.
was like the face of the Japanese phone industry,” said Nobuyuki
Hayashi, a technology consultant and writer. “Losing them will be very
upsetting for those who take pride in Japanese manufacturing.”
surrender is the latest consolidation in the country's cellphone
industry. In 2010, NEC absorbed the remnants of the mobile phone
divisions of two other Japanese stalwarts, Casio and Hitachi, with NEC
holding a controlling stake. In 2008, Kyocera acquired the phone-making arm
of Sanyo. In 2010, Fujitsu and Toshiba combined their handset
businesses; Fujitsu bought out its partner last year. Mitsubishi,
another big electronics company, got out of the phone business entirely.
NEC放棄製造智能手機，是日本手機業最近的一次整合。 2010年，NEC吸收了日本另外兩家骨幹企業卡西歐(Casio)和日立(Hitachi)在手機領域所剩的資產，NEC取得控股權。 2008年，京瓷公司(Kyocera)收購了三洋電機(Sanyo)的手機製造業務。 2010年，富士通(Fujitsu)和東芝(Toshiba)合併了他們的手機業務；富士通於去年買下了其合作者。另一家大電子公司三菱(Mitsubishi)則徹底放棄了手機業務。
say NEC and other Japanese cellphone makers were tied too closely to
Japanese network operators, developing what has come to be known in that
country as a “Galápagos” effect; devices were cut off from the
evolution of the phone business elsewhere. As a result , the makers failed to grasp the significance of the rise of the smartphone.
Japanese consumers embraced the smartphone in a big way, the companies
had nothing to offer. Although flip phones from NEC and other Japanese
makers are still in wide use in the country, smartphones now make up a
majority of new sales. Japanese brands struggle to compete with imported smartphones, especially the iPhone.
the market for mobile phone handsets, including the rapid spread of
smartphones, has dramatically changed, economies of scale have become
increasingly important for the maintenance and strengthening of
competitiveness,” NEC said in a frank statement. “However, NEC's mobile
phone handset shipments are following a downward trend, and it is difficult to foresee improved performance in the future.”
last year, Apple had become the market leader in Japan, where the
iPhone had won 25.5 percent of overall cellphone sales, according to the
MM Research Institute. Even Samsung, which has been slower to establish
a foothold in Japan than elsewhere, surpassed NEC last year, with a 7.2 percent market share.
MM總研株式會社(MM Research Institute)稱，到去年，蘋果已經變成了日本手機市場的領軍者。 iPhone已贏得日本手機總銷售量的25.5%。三星在日本取得穩固地位的過程要比在其他國家慢，但是也在去年以7.2%的市場份額超過了NEC。
smartphones, Apple is even more dominant, with 40 percent of the
Japanese market in the first quarter, according to another research
will be further consolidation in the industry,” said Jean-Philippe
Biragnet, a partner at the Bain & Company consulting firm in Tokyo.
“There is not space for more than two or three of these players. The
question is, Who? ”
東京的貝恩諮詢公司(Bain & Company)合夥人讓-菲利普·比拉涅(Jean-Philippe Biragnet)說，“該行業會進一步整合，沒有空間容納超過兩到三家這樣的公司。問題是，究竟是哪幾家？”
the domestic brands, the leaders last year, according to MM, were
Fujitsu, with a 14.4 percent share of the overall mobile phone market;
Sharp, with 14 percent; and Sony, with 9.8 percent.
and Kyocera are much weaker, though they were slightly ahead of NEC,
whose share of the business had fallen to about 5 percent last year from
nearly 28 percent in 2001, according to MM.
the remaining contenders, only Sony has a significant presence outside
Japan. The other Japanese phone makers have been outflanked at the high
end of the smartphone business by Apple, Samsung and others, and at the
low end by a growing number of Chinese manufacturers.
was in talks with one of the Chinese companies, Lenovo, about a
partnership aimed at saving the smartphone business, but the
negotiations broke down several weeks ago, making the company's
announcement Wednesday inevitable, analysts said.
fans of retro-styled Japanese flip phones, which have come to be known
here as “gara-kei,” short for “Galápagos phone,” there was at least one
saving grace in NEC's announcement. The company said that even though it
was quitting the smartphone business, it would continue “developing and producing conventional mobile handsets.”
Joshua Hunt contributed reporting.
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