Sony recalled six digital cameras in China

Sony recalled six models of digital still camera in China earlier this year after a local government raised quality concerns over the products, Sony said.

Sony recalled six models of digital still camera in China earlier this year after a local government raised quality concerns over the products, Sony said late last week.

The recall, which involved Sony offering to refund the purchase price of the cameras to any consumers that wished to return them, was revealed as Sony detailed its financial performance for the fourth quarter on Thursday last week. Sony wouldn't comment on how many cameras it bought back from consumers or how much money it spent in the process.

"This has been settled and is behind us," said Takao Yuhara, senior vice president of Sony, at a Tokyo news conference.

In mid-December the Zhejiang Administration for Industry and Commerce issued a statement detailing the results of tests it had performed on 34 digital cameras from six manufacturers that were on sale in Zhejiang province. It said 13 cameras did not meet specifications but did not detail what tests were carried out and the reason why they were performed.

The administration specified six Sony Cybershot models that it said did not meet certain specifications. It didn't name the other seven cameras. The Sony cameras named were the DSC-H1, DSC-L1, DSC-P200, DSC-W7, DSC-W5 and DSC-S90, all of which were made in China. The cameras were faulted for problems with white balance, image uniformity, automatic exposure and LCD (liquid crystal display) brightness.

At the time Sony said it was in talks with the local administration and had pulled the cameras from sale in China until a resolution could be found.

Sony continued to sell other digital still cameras in China, and new models have already been launched this year.

Sony sold 13.5 million digital cameras worldwide in the period from April 2005 to March 2006, which is slightly down on the 14 million units it sold in the year earlier. For the current year from April the company expects to see sales jump to 15.5 million. In the middle of this year Sony will make its entry into the digital SLR (single lens reflex) market in an attempt to expand its reach to the serious amateur photographer.

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Martyn Williams

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