Sony Not Alone; China Questions Pentax Quality

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December 19, 2005 – In addition to Sony, Pentax as well is now under fire from the Chinese Zhejiang Industry and Commerce Bureau for exercising poor quality control over its digital cameras. Pentax asserts that their digital cameras have passed their own digital proprietary tests and standards and should meet the criteria of China’s still developing industry standards.

Two Pentax digital camera models were found by Chinese officials to have problems with their white balance and auto exposure features in addition to faulty LCDs. These are the same issues that six Sony models were also cited for by the Zhejiang Industry and Commerce Bureau last week.

While Sony is willing to give refunds to those who wish to return any of the questionable cameras, Sony’s statement on Friday indicates that they do not believe their digital cameras are below quality standards, asserting that "this is not a quality problem resulting in defects." They are in talks with the Zhejiang Industry and Commerce Bureau to settle the situation "amicably." In the meantime, Sony has suspended sale of the six Cyber-shot models in question to the entire Chinese market.

In its own attempt to work with Zhejiang officials to resolve the issue, Pentax has requested and been granted a chance to have its digital cameras re-examined.

This is an obvious setback for both Sony and Pentax in terms of sales to the Chinese market, considering that the holiday shopping season and Chinese New Year is a lucrative time for retailers.

Thirteen models from six different digital camera manufacturers have failed to pass the Zhejiang Industry and Commerce Bureau’s quality inspection. Canon and Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) also make up part of China’s digital camera market, but so far neither one has drawn criticism from the Bureau.

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