2013年8月2日 星期五

NEC of Japan Is Exiting Market for Smartphones

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
NEC, 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.
週三,曾經是日本手機製造業領軍者的日本電氣(NEC)稱,它將不再生產智能手機,並承認不敵蘋果公司(Apple)及三星電子(Samsung Electronics)等公司。
The 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.
“We 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.”
NEC首席財務長川島勇(Isamu Kawashima)在日本的一次新聞發布會上說,“我們在智能手機市場上是後來者,我們沒能開發出具有吸引力的產品。這就是根本原因。”
Like 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.
NEC和其他日本手機製造商一樣,仍然堅持製造老式的翻蓋手機。打電話、拍照、玩簡單遊戲都很棒,但是要做更多的就不行了。而別國競爭對手開發的智能手機,卻把整個互聯網以及更多東西都裝到了用戶的口袋裡。 2011年,NEC才推出了第一部智能手機,比蘋果的iPhone晚了四年。
The 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.
“NEC 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.”
科技顧問及作者林信行(Nobuyuki Hayashi)說,“NEC就像是日本手機產業的招牌。失去它們將會讓那些以日本製造業為豪的人感到非常失望。”
NEC's 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。
Analysts 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.
分析人士稱,NEC及其他日本手機製造商與日本網絡運營商捆綁過緊,形成了日本所謂的“加拉帕戈斯效應”(Galápagos effect,指某種產業或者產品只在某國國內佔有較大市場份額,並形成孤立市場——譯註)。日本的手機完全隔絕於別國手機業務的進化。所以,日本手機製造商沒能意識到智能手機崛起的重要性。
As 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.
“As 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.”
By 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。
In smartphones, Apple is even more dominant, with 40 percent of the Japanese market in the first quarter, according to another research firm, IDC.
“There 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?”
Among 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.
Panasonic 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.
Among 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.
NEC 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.
For 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.”
復古樣式的日本翻蓋手機在這裡被稱為“加拉機”(gara-kei),是“加拉帕戈斯手機”(Galápagos phone)的簡稱。對於這種手機的追捧者來說,NEC的聲明還不算一無是處。公司稱,儘管不再製造智能手機,還是會繼續“開發並生產傳統手機”。
Joshua Hunt contributed reporting.

Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Joshua Hunt對本文有報導貢獻。