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Sony Mobile user accounts hacked in China & Taiwan

 Sony announced that roughly 400 Chinese and Taiwanese customers had their accounts hacked. According to Nikkei, the attack is believed to be the work of individuals loosely associated with the Anonymous "hacktivist" group. The hackers released a statement saying that they were able to access customer information from Sony's mobile phone division through a third-party data management firm.

According to a Sony spokesperson, hackers were able to obtain close to 400 user names and corresponding email addresses. Sony declined to elaborate further on the extent of the attack except to say that no credit card or bank account information was exposed.

The latest report is more bad news for Japan's largest consumer electronics manufacturer who only last year had its PlayStation unit hacked. The cyber attack exposed over 100 million accounts worldwide and forced the online game shop to shut down for two months. Three months later Sony Pictures Entertainment Web site was attacked, affecting 37,500 US citizens.

To make matters worse, Sony's products have been experiencing lackluster sales recently, leading the company on Thursday to a 32-year intraday low on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In fact, earlier this year Sony announced roughly US$6 million in losses and that its mobile division was laying off 15 percent of its global workforce over the next two years.

Sony faces stiff competition particularly in Asia from established South Korean firms like Samsung and LG and up and comers out of China. Sony showed off its new Xperia T at IFA to respectable reviews, but is releasing the China focused Xperia TX and SL for 4,314 yuan (US$680) and 3,870 yuan (US$610) respectively.

In my opinion, the price is simply too high when you have companies like Xiaomi willing to take a loss selling its MI2 for just 1,999 yuan (US$313). In a crowded industry, I feel Sony doesn't bring enough to the market to justify the price premium it wants to command in the Chinese market.