Osaka, Japan — Gibson-owned WOOX Innovations teamed up with Onkyo, which is partially owned by Gibson, in a product-development and distribution deal that will focus initially on developing Onkyo-brand Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
Onkyo sees the partnership with WOOX as presenting “a great opportunity for growth, both through collaboration on product development and through WOOX’s extensive global sales organization, which is present in more than and manages sales in over 100 countries,” said Onkyo president/CEO Munenori Otsuki. With the partnership, he said, Onkyo “will accelerate growth and improve our business performance.”
The development, said WOOX CEO Wiebo Vaartjes, marks “an important step forward in the implementation of our multibrand strategy, where we will collaborate with our partners in Gibson Brands to create and bring to market innovative products across a range of brands.”
Onkyo “has a great heritage, advanced technology capabilities, and a strong brand,” he continued. “This partnership will create value for our companies, for our retail customers, and most importantly for consumers.”
The two companies say they will focus on fast-growing market segments and will “introduce products designed around their users’ lifestyles.”
The agreement “only relates to new Onkyo-branded products that we will create as a result of the partnership,” a WOOX spokesperson told TWICE. “These new products will be distributed by WOOX Innovations globally, excluding Japan. WOOX Innovations will not take over all sales and marketing of the Onkyo brand in any countries. This will remain with Onkyo.” He continued, “We will only manage sales and marketing of the products that result from the partnership.”
Although “our specific product introduction plans for the U.S. are yet to be determined,” the spokesman continued, “Onkyo will continue to market and distribute its current product range in the U.S. via its current distribution setup.”
The new products will be marketed in the U.S. by a new dedicated U.S. sales organization called Gibson Innovations USA, he said.
For now and through the end of 2015, Funai subsidiary P&F USA has an agreement with Philips to market WOOX’s Philips-brand products on an exclusive basis in North America. It’s not known whether Gibson Innovations USA will take over the sales and marketing of those products in the U.S. in 2016.
In the U.S, Onkyo currently markets one pair of Bluetooth headphones and multiple on- and in-ear wired headphones. The company also markets Bluetooth-equipped CD mini systems but no Bluetooth speakers.
Gibson said the agreement “further advances Gibson Brands’ ambition to become the largest music lifestyle company in the world.”
Hong Kong-based WOOX, with more than 1,900 employees worldwide, is the former audio and lifestyle entertainment business of Netherlands-based Royal Philips. WOOX, acquired by Gibson Brands in June 2014, manufactures and markets portable and tabletop Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers, soundbars, HTiBs, cordless phones, accessories, DVD players and Blu-ray players for global sale.
In January 2012, privately held Gibson purchased 51 percent of Onkyo USA from Japan-based Onkyo and became Onkyo Japan’s second largest shareholder with the purchase of about 15 percent of Onkyo shares.
Separately, in May 2013, Gibson closed on its purchase of a 54.4 percent stake in Japan’s Teac, which offers consumer and pro audio, broadcast and medical equipment, in-flight entertainment systems and recordable optical discs.