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TV-makers push high-tech sets to win back customers amid revenue slump

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-23 10:14
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Employees put the finishing touches on television display units on an assembly line of a digital product manufacturer in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Geng Yuhe/For China Daily]

The domestic market is expected to sell 48.51 million TV sets this year, up 1.6 percent year-on-year, with consumers favoring large 8K screens with higher resolutions and new-generation display technologies, an industry report said.

TV sales reached 47.74 million units nationwide last year, up 0.5 percent compared with the previous year. But related sales revenue totaled 149 billion yuan ($22 billion), down 8.6 percent year-on-year, according to the report, released by Beijing-based consultancy All View Cloud and the China Video Industry Association.

Opportunities and challenges will coexist in the TV industry this year, said Peng Jianfeng, deputy secretary-general of the China Video Industry Association. Peng noted the over-the-top, or OTT, business, meaning content that providers distribute via online streaming, will become an important revenue source for TV manufacturers.

"Global sales of OTT TVs will amount to 260 million units this year, with the revenue from advertisements reaching 7 billion yuan to 9 billion yuan. Moreover, the deployment of 5G technology will make the transmission of 8K content possible, as well as boosting the development of the internet of things," Peng said.

However, he noted the TV industry faces challenges in the form of slower economic growth, excess capacity and the loss of TV users.

Zhu Yuanyuan, general manager of the TV unit at All View Cloud, said the average price of a TV set was 3,121 yuan last year, a decrease of 9 percent year-on-year.

The industry's panel manufacturing capacity will continue to increase this year, meaning panel prices are expected to fall, which will alleviate some cost pressures on TV companies, she added.

Zhu forecast TV industry growth will recover this year, with sales rising to 48.51 million sets, up 1.6 percent year-on-year, though revenue will dip to 146.8 billion yuan, down 1.5 percent year-on-year.

The industry might seek breakthroughs via technological innovation and consumption upgrade, and TV-makers should step up efforts to expand into the rural market, analysts said.

Chang Dongfa, vice-president of Shenzhen, Guangdong province-based electronics manufacturer Konka Group Co Ltd, said the company will focus on artificial intelligence, 8K and 5G technologies to create more opportunities this year, and will increase investment in research and development.

"We launched full-screen TVs and cooperated with online entertainment service provider iQiyi and internet search giant Baidu in content and technology last year," said Wang Zhiguo, chief technology officer of Skyworth Group.

In addition, major domestic panel manufacturers are pressing ahead with ambitious expansion plans, investing heavily in display panels.

BOE Technology Group Co Ltd, the country's biggest display producer, said it will continue to strengthen its position in the industry amid a surge in demand for large high-definition TV panels.

BOE's Generation 10.5 TFT-LCD production line entered operation to produce high-definition LCD screens of 65 inches (1.65 m) and more, shipping 54.27 million panels in 2018, up 24 percent year-on-year.

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