Sony is turning its sights on the growing high-def market in China with the opening of a Blu-ray manufacturing plant in Shanghai.

The new plant will produce 500,000 of the high-def discs per month specifically for the domestic market.

With bootlegging a major problem in China the move by Sony is certainly bold.

Not least because there are strong doubts over whether Chinese consumers are willing to pay the price premium for Blu-ray.

Illegal DVDs fetch USD $1 compared to official Blu-ray discs that could cost up to USD $30.

If successful, the rewards are certainly appealing.

Blu-ray is growing in China with three Chinese manufacturers making the high-def players and Pioneer, Sony and Panasonic importing devices.

Sony expects to add around 100 new Blu-ray titles by the end of the year to the 32 currently available in China.

The company already has Blu-ray disc plants in the United States, Japan and Austria.

By having a manufacturing plant in China, Sony should be better placed to combat piracy by avoiding import permits and taxes while also releasing movies to consumers faster.

Sony just reported its first annual operating loss in 14 years and announced that it plans to close one of its two television plants in Japan – Ichinomiya TEC – and cut 2,000 full-time jobs.

The cutbacks follow last month’s announcement that 16,000 jobs were to be lost.

Sony is targeting a global headcount reduction of approximately 30 per cent across its TV design operations and related divisions by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.

Subscribe to our Newsletter