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Lenovo, Sharp unveil new smart TV products

By Gao Yuan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-06 06:18

Lenovo Group Ltd on Wednesday unveiled smart TV products developed with Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp amid reports that the Chinese company is buying Sharp's TV plant in Nanjing.

Beijing-based Lenovo is planning to sell 1 million smart TVs online over the next three years, said Chen Xudong, senior vice-president and general manager of Lenovo's China unit.

Smart TV refers to TV sets able to handle interactive media, Internet TV, set-top box content and on-demand streaming media.

"Demand for smart TVs in China is set to grow this year and Lenovo is a top player in the market due to its edge in the information technology industry," said Chen.

Lenovo launched its smart TV strategy a year ago but failed to make a significant impression with customers. The company said its smart TVs bring "the best user experience" compared to its competitors, but refused to disclose last year's sales volume.

"Lenovo's IT background and experience in the Internet industry will give the company some advantage compared with traditional TV manufacturers," said Jin Xiaofeng, deputy manager of consumer electronics research firm AVC.

The company's new high-end smart TV, scheduled to enter the market in July, was co-developed with Sharp, a leading liquid crystal display panel manufacturer.

Earlier reports from Reuters and some Japanese media said that the Chinese company is in talks with Sharp to purchase a TV assembly plant in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.

Both companies declined to comment on the possible deal.

"We are willing to extend our competitiveness in the TV sector through mergers and acquisitions," said Chen.

At Wednesday's event, Lenovo said e-commerce website JD.com will assist Lenovo with online sales of the smart TV.

Offline sales in major Chinese cities will be handled by Suning Appliance Co Ltd and Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd, said the company.

Lenovo's smart TVs are set to face fierce competition from other vendors.

Internet company LeTV.com has launched self-branded smart TV products aimed at the medium-end market.

Priced from 1,999 yuan ($325), Lenovo said its product line and sales team would help the company reach more customers.

The world's second-largest personal computer maker has been actively exploring new areas such as smartphones and TVs for higher margins after the global PC market suffered a dramatic decline starting last year.

Hong Kong-listed Lenovo told its investors on Tuesday that it is in talks with an undisclosed manufacturer on a smartphone venture. Industry insiders said Japanese IT giant NEC Corp is the intended partner.

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