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Sony Mobile attracts young buyers online

TAIPEI -- Sony Mobile Communications, a mobile unit of Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp., said Thursday it is stepping up its online smartphone sales in Taiwan in an effort to attract more young consumers.

The initiative kicked off at 4 p.m. Thursday, with the company's Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone going on sale on Yahoo-Kimo Inc.'s shopping site at a price of NT$15,380 (US$508), coupled with a limited number of free gifts.

It was a departure from Sony Mobile's usual approach of releasing its new smartphones through local telecom operators.

“Electronic commerce is a key distribution channel for us this year. We are hoping to put more resources into it,” Jonathan Lin, general manager of Sony Mobile's Taiwan branch, said at a press conference in Taipei to launch the Z1 Compact.

The emphasis on virtual sales will also help increase awareness of Sony Mobile's products among young consumers in Taiwan because they are used to buying various items online rather than in physical stores, Lin said.

Sony Mobile currently holds a 15-percent share of Taiwan's online smartphone sales, jostling with the other top competitors, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan's HTC Corp., Lin said.

The Japanese handset maker is targeting a 20-percent share of overall online sales this year as it is prepares to offer Taiwanese consumers more incentives and flagship models such as the 4.3-inch Z1 Compact, he added.

According to a study by Taiwan's Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC), 46.2 percent of Taiwanese Internet users had purchased daily living products online between October 2012 and September 2013.

Other popular products bought online included clothing and accessories (41.4 percent), stationery and books (32.2 percent) and computer peripherals (31.3 percent), the data showed.

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