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Friday, December 05, 2003
Sony sees strong Christmas sales, DVD recorder boom

Sony Corp President Kunitake Ando said on Friday its products are selling "extremely well" during the Christmas shopping season, owered by DVD recorder demand at home and sales of large-screen televisions in the United States.

The all-important October-December quarter accounts for about one-third of its annual revenues and a majority of its operating profits, due to a boost in sales during the few months before Christmas.

"There is an expectation that Sony is always a laggard these days, so we're sorry to disappoint," Ando said with a chuckle during an interview with Reuters.

"There is double-digit growth in the U.S., and Europe is a little better than last year. All other regions, such as East Asia, pan-Asia, the Middle East and South America, are all seeing double-digit growth."

Ando said sales of flat-panel televisions, games and digital cameras are all strong, but the biggest growth is from its new lineup of DVD recorders released in November.

Sony has been slow to enter the fast-growing DVD recorder market, lagging behind leaders Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd and Pioneer Corp

Under Sony's revival plan, it signed a memorandum of understanding to form a $2 billion joint venture to make flat screens for televisions with rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd of South Korea, with full production expected to begin in mid-2005.

Ando said final details of the liquid crystal display (LCD) joint venture will be announced in February, with the investment to be split almost evenly between the two firms.

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