Sony has announced plans to end its camera manufacturing and sales operations in Brazil by the middle of next year. Per Gizmodo Brazil, Sony will continue to sell its consumer electronics, including cameras, in Brazil until mid-2021. However, next March, its production plant in Manaus, Brazil will shut down. The plant has been in business for nearly 50 years.
In a statement to Brazilian employees, partners, retailers and suppliers, Sony said that its exit from Brazil is due to changing market conditions and expected business trends. Clóvis Letie, Sony senior operations manager in Brazil, has stated that operations in Brazil will continue to provide technical support and warranty service for products already sold. You can view an image of the statement in Portuguese by clicking here. Sony issued a follow up statement to Gizmodo as well, which can be seen here.
|A screenshot from Sony Brazil's website shows that the new Sony A7C, recent A7S III and A9 II cameras are featured in the interchangeable lens category. These cameras and the rest of Sony's photographic offerings will no longer be on sale in Brazil starting in mid-2021.|
In its analysis, Gizmodo Brazil states that the most surprising aspect of Sony's announcement is that the Japanese company is closing multiple divisions at once. It is also worth considering the influence of currency exchange rates and, of course, the ongoing pandemic. Gizmodo notes that Sony's strategy in Brazil has been to slash costs to any sector not generating significant profit, which after the middle of 2021 will result in the last vestige of Sony in Brazil being the PlayStation division.
While market conditions are surely challenging for Sony and other electronics companies, Brazil is a large market to exit. The large South American nation has one of the highest GDP in the world, both by nominal and purchasing power parity measures. Granted, on a per capita basis, the nation of over 200 million ranks much lower. Income is also not evenly distributed, perhaps making it challenging to generate a profit while producing and selling what are essentially luxury items.
The closure of the factory in Manaus will hurt locals. The closure will result in the loss of about 220 jobs, per PetaPixel. In addition to the loss of employment for over 200 people, Sony's exodus from Brazil will certainly hurt photographers as well. This comes only a few short years after Nikon left Brazil.
|Another screenshot from Sony Brazil.|
A PetaPixel reader writes, 'Personally, I receive this notice like a stab on my back. I invested a lot of money in Sony cameras and lenses, a lot of people too. Sony is already the standard for many professionals, live event, marriages, and advertising small producers…With Nikon already gone a few years, I made the move to Sony. Looks like a bad choice. Now, I will have to sell and buy everything new from Canon.'
This sentiment is likely echoed by many photographers in Brazil. Cameras and lenses are expensive photography is an expensive hobby for many and a way of life for others. Changing brands is not simple nor inexpensive. In the meantime, existing Sony owners can likely depend on ongoing product and warranty support, even after Sony stops making and selling most of its consumer electronics in Brazil.