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Sony’s TV & Audio Supply Problems Present Opportunities For Other Premium Brands

Australian CE retailers are facing a shortage of TV’s with brands such as Sony who are also facing problems supplying their audio products telling retailers that it could be August before they have 2020 models available in Australia due to the closedown of their factories in Malaysia, due to COVID-19.

Earlier this year Panasonic pulled out of the premium TV market in Australia and when Samsung launched their new TV’s last month, they said that they would only be available at JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys.

At Harvey Norman, the retailers have cranked up sales of the Akai TV’s after dropping the Toshiba TV brand.

According to retailers that ChannelNews there is room in the market for a new premium brand with one European Company tipped to get ranging at a mass dealer is German brand Loewe who are back manufacturing their premium TV’s along with a new mid-market range of OLED and 4K QLED models that were set to be revealed at IFA 2020.

“The big difference between a Loewe TV and a TV branded with the name Blaupunkt is that Loewe products are designed in Europe and manufactured in Europe to extremly high standards. The Blaupunkt TV’s which are already attracting criticism in Australia are simply a European sounding name only stuck on a cheap TV made in a mass Chinese TV factory” said one observer.

Another brand that could benefit from the shortage of premium TV’s is Sharp.

Currently the Japanese Company who has a close association with Temp who distribute Hitachi, Philips, Akai, Bauhn and Polaroid TV’s in Australia are believed to be looking at new premium and mid-market 4K UHD TV’s after initially concentrating on 8K TV’s for the Japanese market.

The Foxconn owned Company told ChannelNews that they realise Australia is a market where the brand is “well known” we just have to have the right range for this market they said at this year’s CES show.

Sharp, and Sony will today Monday restart production lines in Malaysia after the country eased restrictions that had resulted in the Sony, Sharp and Panasonic TV plants being closed down due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Sharp’s television factory in the southern state of Johor is returning to full capacity. For Sony, the return to work is critical as Malaysia is its “mother factory” for TVs said one observer.

The closure of the plants “has affected production of a wide range of products including TV’s and audio products,” a Sony representative said.

“We will not have supply for Australia until at least August as Australia is a small market and is a limited run Country” they said.

Sharp restarted production at the Johor plant on April 25, after the factory was idle for more than a month. The plant operated with only half the workforce until full production resumed today.

The plant was reportedly approved for an early restart after Sharp told the government what steps it had taken to ensure worker safety. Employees have ready access to on-site temperature checks and disinfectants. Chairs in the dining hall have been separated to conform to social distancing rules claims local Malaysian media.

Sony partially relaunched activities at its TV and audio equipment factories in April concentrating on audio products but this was small run production for European and Asian markets.

Sony’s Malaysia operation handled procurement of liquid crystal display panels from Japan.

The integrated operation is responsible for assembling the panels with backlight and polarizing plates to match Sony’s quality standards.

Sharp exports TVs made in Malaysia to Japan as well as other countries in Southeast Asia with Australia tipped to be added to the list next year.

The disruptions in Malaysia will likely reverberate in the supply chain strategies at Japanese makers. “The impact from Malaysia will be larger this fiscal year than in the previous one,” said a Panasonic executive.

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