Sony released its PlayStation4 (simplified Chinese version) in Shanghai on 21 March. This gentleman— Takehito Soeda (添田武人) caught my attention. He is the Vice President of China Business Strategy department of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia. As a Japanese, he speaks very fluent Beijing-style mandarin and seems to be very confident dealing with Chinese media in this interview and many others.
According to this report from WPDang based on Global Manager. Soeda san has lived in Beijing since he was a child, and holds a B.A in Literature from Peking University. He also completed an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management as an “aged senior student”, which makes his education background more “global”. He has worked in companies like DELL, AT Kearney, Baidu Japan and is apparently experienced with cross-cultural marketing and management.
A quote from him: “When you communicate with someone, you should approach the topic on the same level and from the same perspective as the person, and also communicate in a way that can be understood by the person.”
Given that there are only 13 games available on PS4 for mainland Chinese users. Soeda san seems have done a good job in keeping the release of this new device a hot topic among the Chinese game players. Seen on various Chinese social media, he actively interacts with his team at Sony Entertainment China, as well as PlayStation users online. He has a nick name “Uncle Wu ten er”(五仁儿叔) and his fans has recently discovered that he was a special guest actor in Feng Xiaogang’s 2001 movie Big Shot’s Funeral.
Here are some screenshots of the film. Soeda san’s name can be seen on the cast list (top). He plays a Japanese film producer in this movie (bottom, man with glasses).
I think this kind of “celebrity strategy” works well for Sony PlayStation in China. Soeda san represents a very friendly, competent, and unharmful Japanese senior businessman figure, which easily surpasses many political awkwardness and subsequently shortens the distance between the developer and its targeted consumers in China.
Maybe Sony Film should be considering applying the same strategy when they would like to expand its market in North Korea one day.