Extraordinary Genius - Chapter 315 – Beating Sony in the home ground
Norio Ohga threw his teacup on the floor, shattering into pieces.
“What are you telling me? All our Chinese dealers want to return our goods? Is this the way you manage the Chinese market? It’s fine if our sales drop slightly every month, but now you are telling me that our sales in the Chinese market will become zero?”
The person in charge of the Chinese market kept his head down and was trembling slightly. He was appointed to develop China’s market, and due to several reasons, he had not been able to succeed. However, in the long run, he will be able to help Sony increase the profits.
He thought that he will become Sony’s hero and might be able to promote to the higher management. But he never expects that he was fighting a losing battle in China!
In August, the Chinese market became his nightmare!
Sony’s sales did not only drop in August. In fact, Sony starts to suffer losses. Also, all their dealers said that they will not be ordering any more products from them in September. They even wanted to return Sony’s products back to Sony, which was allowed in their contracts with Sony.
Previously, this person in charge had included this “returning of goods” term in their contract was because no dealers wanted to sell Sony’s Walkman products. But at that time, Sony does not have any competitors in the Chinese market. He only wanted to let the dealers see the profits and carry on working with him.
All this while, things were going smoothly. But suddenly, there were malicious rumors that claimed a Sony’s senior management had insulted China. This causes all the Chinese to boycott their products. Even other Japanese products were affected too.
All these had nothing to do with him. He was also not the one that had insulted China. However, he did not react fast enough to stop these rumors and let this incident blew up.
For a rumor to spread so fast, there must be someone behind it. This person must have considerable influence.
Yes. I can push all the blame to AIWA!
“President Norio, I had investigated what happened. There is someone behind this incident. AIWA should be the one behind all these rumors!”
“Are you sure?”
The person in charge was not sure if AIWA was the one behind these rumors. He only wanted to push the blame to someone else. Unexpectedly, he had shifted the blame to the real culprit.
“You stay here and think of a solution. I will report this matter to the President. We will talk about this later!”
This incident had blown up for Sony. That Sony’s higher management statements were reported in a Japanese newspaper. But it was taken out of context. That person did not mean to insult China, but no one wanted to listen to his explanations.
This incident happened too fast. Not only Sony’s products were boycotted by the Chinese, but even other Japanese products were also boycotted.
The most frustrating part for Sony was when the foreign affairs people called and reprimanded them for spoiling Japan’s image.
Japan at this time was trying to build diplomatic relationships with China. Although it was not the honeymoon period, the relationship between both countries had improved slightly. This incident caused by Sony had led to the Chinese boycotting all Japanese products. This had a massive impact on the Japanese economy!
Japan had been trying to enter the Chinese market for the past few years. The Chinese market was critical for the recovery of their economy. All the efforts Japan had put in were ruined by Sony!
Sony’s President explained to the Foreign Affairs officials that Sony did not insult China. All the higher management staff said was that China’s electronic industry was more than 10 years behind Sony. This was the truth. What’s wrong with saying China will never be able to catch up with Sony? This was the confidence of Sony!
It was fine for Sony to have confidence in itself. But Sony should not be arrogant. Sony had to pay the price for the statement from its higher management staff.
In the end, Sony fired that higher management staff to try to calm the situation. No matter what, Sony does not want to give up the Chinese market. China was their next targeted market.
But Sony had underestimated the Chinese fury. Even after Sony sacked that staff and apologized in the newspapers, the Chinese were not appeased.
The boycott against Japanese products in China was not as severe now for other products. It was because the other Japanese products started to give discount and promotions in a bid to salvage the situation. Sony also did the same, but they still do not have any sales. There were even a group of angry youths that got angry at people using Sony products. They do not care when were the Sony’s products bought.
Feng Yu had only wanted to stir up the people’s emotion and boycott Sony. But he did not expect things to blow up until all Japanese products were affected.
This incident even made it to the Foreign Affairs departments. But it was still Japan’s fault, and all China did be to advise the public to be rational. The Chinese government did not really stop the people from boycotting Japanese products.
Japan had no choice but to give China some benefits. As for how this rumor started, no one cares.
Feng Yu thought that without internet and only let the dealers spread some rumors, the effect will not be so serious. Of course, this incident had become so severe was because many old Chinese soldiers who had fought against the Japanese were still alive!
Those dealers were also smart. They printed a banner stating “AIWA Walkman, a company owned by Chinese! This banner, coupled with the anti-Japanese sentiments, created a significant increase in AIWA Walkman sales. It was only a matter of time for AIWA to monopolize China’s market.
This was the Chinese way of retaliating against the Japanese electronics industry.
At the same time, some Chinese businesses start to roll out the “Made in China” campaign. They wanted to make use of the patriotic feelings to increase their brand awareness and sales.
Among these businesses were many counterfeit products. They wanted to make use of this opportunity to make some money. If they were caught, they would be jailed. But those that were not caught made a lot of money!
There were even some “Smart” people that bought those Sony Walkman at low prices, and replaced the logo with stickers, and resold those Walkman.
Sony could only accept their fates. There was nothing they could do. If they want to ship back their products from China, the transportation cost will be high. Sony’s Walkman was selling all over the world. Those Walkman sold in China were all older models, and even if those Walkman were sent to other countries, no one would buy them too. Why not sell it at low prices in China and try to minimize their losses.
Norio Ohga called up Heitaro Nakajima. He wanted to make up with AIWA and to form an alliance again. He needed AIWA’s help to improve Sony’s image in China. But Heitaro Nakajima rejected him flatly!
When I pleaded with you when you want to stop the alliance, did you listen? Furthermore, AIWA’s controlling shareholder, Feng Yu, had said to treat Sony as their main competitor and AIWA will never work with Sony!
Feng Yu saw that Sony started to lower the prices of their products, and he knew that Sony had lost.
Humph! This is China. This is my home ground! There is no way for you, Sony, to win in my home ground!