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Has Sony exited the Southeast Asian smartphone market?

Sony Mobile Malaysia

Sony has been struggling in the smartphone business for the past couple of years. They were once a top 5 smartphone maker but most recently, they sold just 1.6 million smartphones worldwide in Q3 2018.

There were speculations that Sony will be shutting down its smartphone business in several markets and now it appears that Sony Mobile had quietly exited Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

The last smartphone launch event by Sony Malaysia was for the Sony Xperia XZ2 in March 2018. After that, the last model to be released locally is the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and it was sold without much fanfare on their online store.

After Sony had announced the Xperia XZ3 at IFA2018, it appears that the Japanese smartphone maker had gone silent in Malaysia. This was quite surprising considering Sony was quick to launch their past few flagship models in our local market. On SIRIM, there were no new smartphones certified since July 2018 and the last device listed is for the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

At the time of writing, the Sony Mobile Malaysian site is still showing the Xperia XZ2 as their premium Android offering for 2019. It’s also the same situation as well for Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In Indonesia, it appears that the Xperia Z5 was the last model to be offered there.

Even Sony Mobile’s official store on 11street (managed by Thorus) has been cleared out and the last interaction with customers was in November 2018. On top of that, Sony has removed the smartphone category from their official online store. The only thing that’s active is their Facebook page with occasional posts to highlight older models like the Xperia XZ Premium from 2017.

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These are clear signs that they have left our market and a couple of sources have told us that Sony Mobile is no longer present in Malaysia. However, they are still active in other parts of Asia which include Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan.

The smartphone business is extremely tough especially with the rise of Chinese smartphone makers. The Xperia X series is probably the final nail to the coffin with its outdated design and underwhelming hardware sold at flagship prices.

It’s unfortunate to see Sony which is known for making premium and water-resistant smartphones to disappear from our local market. Apart from Sony Mobile, Motorola has also exited our local market, while LG Mobile can be considered as non-existent in Malaysia.

Alexander Wong