Sony plans Qualia launch in Europe

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[London] Sony Corp. plans to introduce its premium consumer electronics brand, Qualia, in Europe later this year. Qualia first appeared in Sony's home market, Japan, last summer with a limited range of high-end products including digital cameras, sound systems and televisions. Elsewhere in Asia, some Qualia products will be included in Sony's brand experience project, a kind of high-tech flagship store Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide is designing for Sony in Shanghai.

Qualia's launch is seen as an important step in Sony's goal of becoming a global market leader in consumer electronics. By appealing to cutting-edge technophiles willing to spend $3,000 on a camcorder, Sony hopes Qualia will also help make the parent brand more desirable to the mass market. A Sony spokesperson denied "immediate" launch plans for Qualia, but executives close to the company expect a limited rollout in Europe this fall, with ads from Fallon, Sony's European agency. In Japan, Qualia is handled by Hakuhodo.