Fujitsu Ltd. plans to release smartphones outside Japan in 2013 for the first time by targeting senior citizens with user-friendly devices.
With Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. dominating the smartphone field for young people, Fujitsu saw a marketing opportunity to make smartphones with easy-to-read display images, larger letters and increased volume that will attract seniors.
Masami Yamamoto, Fujitsu president, unveiled the strategy Dec. 27 during an interview with eight media outlets, including The Asahi Shimbun.
Although Fujitsu was at the top in mobile phone shipments, including smartphones, in Japan in fiscal 2011, Yamamoto said, “As the Japanese market has already hit a peak, we have to sell devices overseas to increase our sales numbers.”
Taking projected overseas sales into account, the company expects its mobile phone shipments to rise from 8 million units in fiscal 2012 to 10 million in fiscal 2014.
As part of its overseas strategy, Fujitsu will sell its "Raku-Raku Smartphone" (easy-to-use smartphone) in the United States and Europe after making certain modifications for each country. Fujitsu released the Raku-Raku Smartphone in Japan this past summer.
The company has no plan in the near future to market its mainstay high-performance Arrows smartphone series overseas.
“We don't have the luxury of spending huge amounts of money to promote a brand, like Samsung," Yamamoto said.
In smartphone business overseas, Japanese makers have been facing an uphill battle. Panasonic Corp., for example, is now withdrawing from the European market less than a year after entering it.
Some observers say Fujitsu’s devices have limited performance compared with those of Samsung, as the Japanese maker does not procure cutting-edge chips from major U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm Inc.
But Fujitsu's president disagrees.
“The domestically produced chips we use are as good as those of Qualcomm in function,” Yamamoto said.
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