So-net, a broadband Internet service provider owned by Sony Corp, has entered the fiercely competitive Hong Kong market, its first foray outside Japan. The entry of the Japanese home appliance manufacturer and content provider comes despite the retreat of many other foreign companies, such as AOL, which pulled out of Hong Kong earlier this year. Susumu Kitadai, division managing director at Sony Hong Kong Marketing, said it was a good time to enter the market because it could not get any worse. The broadband population was expected to grow as more multimedia applications were introduced. Mr Kitadai said So-net hoped to be among the top three service providers in Hong Kong, with 10 per cent market share in the next five years. So-net offers broadband Internet service with speeds of up to 1.5 and three megabits per second using Pacific Century CyberWorks and Hutchison Global Crossing networks. Sony, which is famous for audio and visual products, has about 40 per cent home penetration rate in Hong Kong.