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TCL expands content by working with online giants

By Fan Feifei | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-04-02 11:43

Chinese electronics giant TCL Corp launched its first internet TV brand by working with online giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings to strengthen its content offerings.

The brand FFALCON, which targets young viewers, will integrate TCL's capital, research and development and supply chain with Alibaba and Tencent's abundant video content, including TV dramas, films, live sports events, animation and documentaries, according to TCL.

The companies will cooperate in the artificial intelligence and cloud services sectors to realize data and resource sharing.

Guo Tong, vice-president of TCL Multimedia, says the new internet brand will carry out more business in content and user operation, and improve user experience by offering high-quality content and applying big data analysis technology.

The company also launched its new TV products - the X, C and P series - covering QLED TVs, curved-screen TVs and other medium- and high-end products.

TCL will pay attention to both online and offline channels this year, with an emphasis on the application of AI-enabled technologies in newly-released TV products, including voice and image recognition, and human-machine interaction, Guo says.

China's TV brands witnessed explosive growth in the global market last year. TCL's worldwide sales surpassed 20 million units, ranking third internationally.

Chinese TV sales totaled 50.89 million units last year, up 7.8 percent from 2015, with the value reaching 156 billion yuan ($22.6 billion; 21 billion euros; 18.2 billion), according to All View Cloud, a Beijing-based consultancy.

Industry insiders say that while the traditional TV market is already saturated, internet TV is still growing. They estimate online TV will witness rapid growth in the next five years as the format has accumulated and cultivated a large number of users.

Internet TV brands such as LeEco and Xiaomi have an advantage in content and value-added services, from which traditional home appliance manufacturers could learn, the insiders say.

Dong Min, general manager of AVC's TV department says there is a trend of traditional TV manufacturers marching in line into the internet TV sector.

"It shows the era of smart TV is coming and Chinese consumers' demand has become diversified," Dong says. But he adds it is not easy for each market player to earn dividends in this environment.

TCL's revenues totaled 48.34 billion yuan in the first half of last year, posting a net profit of 788 million yuan.

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