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February 27, 2017

Sony Lays Groundwork for Internal Startups to Expand Business Overseas: Launches Hatsuhiko™ Test Marketing Platform to Ascertain Foreign Market Needs and Open Dialogue with Customers Outside Japan

    Tokyo, Japan - To further accelerate the growth of its new business ventures, Sony Corporation ("Sony") today launched "Hatsuhiko," a test marketing platform designed for markets outside Japan and tailored for internal startups nurtured within its Seed Acceleration Program ("SAP").

    Hatsuhiko will provide business ventures incubated in SAP with opportunities to ascertain market needs outside Japan, as well as the chance to develop/improve their products through direct communication with overseas customers. Based on their business needs, participating projects will conduct test marketing in select regions (from among 130 countries/regions worldwide), for a duration of their choosing. The projects will be able to utilize the feedback from customers to inform their plans for future full-scale business expansion overseas.

    In conjunction with the launch of Hatsuhiko, the MESH™ project will begin accepting preorders in 32 countries across Europe from February 27 to March 31 (Japan Standard Time), to verify consumer needs.

    For the Japanese market, in July 2015 Sony launched First Flight™*1, a platform offering crowdfunding and e-commerce services to enable startups and customers to share their ideas and inspiration ("co-vision") and then jointly bring those ideas to fruition ("co-creation"). First Flight has been a driver for startups to establish a strong foothold in Japan, as seen in the case of the wena™ project*1. This project uniquely brings to life the concept of "wearing electronics naturally," and after garnering record-setting support in Japan during its crowdfunding campaign, it is now successfully developing its business further.

    Just as the name "Hatsuhiko" (Japanese for "first flight") implies, the platform is meant to provide the startups from SAP their first opportunity to take flight and travel beyond Japan's shores to the doors of customers overseas. Following the trajectory of First Flight in Japan, Hatsuhiko will support the continued growth of these projects by providing a new platform for "co-vision" and "co-creation" with customers around the globe.

    Challenger / Hatsuhiko / Early Adopter

    Hatsuhiko is powered by the new "Tokyo Mirai Mode" platform provided by Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc., a company which shares Sony's passion for introducing Japan's unique products to early adopters around the world.

    About MESH

    MESH is a tool that lets both adults and children explore the smart world using everyday objects. Just attach a MESH tag to a physical object to connect it to various smart devices and Internet applications using the MESH app. There is no need for electronics or programming expertise, and it's easy to quickly get started creating your own IoT (Internet of Things) recipes. Simply drag-and-drop in the MESH app to instantly create your own personal smart system. The possibilities are unlimited for using MESH as an education or design tool, or for a smarter life (and home). MESH is currently on sale in Japan and the US.
    While being test marketed in Europe on Hatsuhiko, MESH will also be exhibited at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. You can find it at the Sony Mobile Communications booth from February 27 to March 2 (local time).

    About Sony's Seed Acceleration Program

    Sony has been proactively developing and launching businesses and products based on unique concepts, with the aim of generating new customer value. At the same time, in order to continue delivering experiences that move customers emotionally through innovation, Sony has been establishing an internal framework for supporting and fostering new business and product creation that goes beyond existing organizational boundaries. One cornerstone of this effort is the Seed Acceleration Program (abbreviated as "SAP"), which seeks to fast-track promising new business ideas proposed by Sony employees into full-fledged businesses. Since its inception in April 2014, SAP has launched multiple startup projects that propose new experiences across varied fields outside the scope of Sony's existing businesses, such as the AROMASTIC™ project*1 which envisions delivering "olfactory entertainment."

    • *1Website currently available in Japanese only.
    • * The names and logos of Sony, First Flight, Hatsuhiko, MESH, wena, and AROMASTIC are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Corporation. All other brand or service names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
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