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Vivo, Oppo And Huawei To Make TVs

Aug 13, 2018 by A. Alfaro
Vivo, Oppo And Huawei To Make TVs

Chinese mobile phone czars Oppo, Vivo and Huawei could be rolling up their sleeves to enter the TV manufacturing market, industry insiders say.

The triumvirate that lords over 70% of the country’s budget smartphone market, is probably planning to test the waters in the TV sector to offset a recent spate of slump in the domestic smartphone market.

As for the smartphone sales is concerned, a China Academy of Information and Communications Technology report, the Chinese brands sold 176 million devices in China during H1 2018, a decrease by 18.6%, which highlights the fierce competition between the brands. In this shrinking market, manufacturers are searching for new business lines. The smart home automation market seems like a viable choice for these manufacturers.

None of the companies have confirmed the report yet. In an interview to the portal Securities Daily, a Vivo spokesman actually denied it saying, “We have not received any information about these plans from the company, Vivo will continue to focus on smartphones”.

However, sources within the smartphone industry told the same media outlet that several mainstream smartphone manufacturers are likely to start producing TVs.

“After all, TV is still the first channel through which people get information. Considering the saturation of the smartphone market, the shrinking of their profit and the fierce competition between them, they are preparing to expand to the TV market, get a share of the market and seize part of that data flow,” a source told the portal.

Despite denials, the Chinese media are expecting an official statement from the companies any time soon. They believe that the companies are considering following Xiaomi’s footsteps. The smartphone major entered the TV market in 2013 and has sold 550,000 TV sets by March 2018 that made it the second biggest TV seller in the country, big data company AVC reports.

Contrary to the smartphone market, the domestic TV market has been very lively in the last few years. Companies such as Baidu, Alibaba and others began to see TV as a new way of accessing the Internet apart from smartphones.

Interestingly, at least Oppo and Huawei are not entirely new to this market. Earlier this year, Huawei partnered with the manufacturer Coocaa to launch the Huawei Honor A55, a 55-inch 4K TV. The company had then gone on record saying though it would not manufacture fridges or washing machines, it was willing to try its luck with devices such as routers or TVs.

Oppo launched a portable TV almost 10 years ago, but since then it has mainly focused on smartphones. In March this year, Oppo had signed a strategic intellectual property partnership with Dolby, the US audio technology giant and acquired more than 240 patents from Dolby, which is regarded by many as a preparation for entering the TV market.

Zhang Jianfeng, deputy secretary of the China Household Electrical Appliances Association, explained to Securities Daily: “Smartphone manufacturers will very likely enter the TV market. China has a HUT (Homes Using TV) rate of 34%, which means a huge stable consumer group. Also, young people are slowly returning to TV and smartphone manufacturers know this. Oppo, Vivo, Huawei and Xiaomi are companies with very stable structures and they could enter this market.”

Xiang Ligang, a researcher and IT analyst told Securities Daily: “Currently, the TV market is relatively stable, there is not much space for outsiders. The entry of the big smartphone manufacturers could intensify the competition. This market could be a new income source for the smartphone brands.”

The living room of Chinese houses are already the battlefields for traditional TV traditional manufacturers, Internet giants and smartphone manufacturers. If Oppo, Huawei and Vivo enter the TV market, they will have to fight against Hisense, Coocaa, TCL, Changhong, Xiaomi and others. However, bringing the smartphone model to the TV industry will not be a good idea.

“Smartphone manufacturers and TV manufacturers have different mindsets. When making TVs, smartphone manufacturers tend to focus on the user experience and the content. But traditional TV manufacturers focus on the technical manufacturing standard, where they have an advantage”, Xiang Ligang explained to Securities Daily.

“The future of the industry lies in the cooperation between both parties. The new players will not rush into the market, they will adopt a strategy of cooperation with the traditional brands. This is the most effective way to enter this field. Otherwise, it is very risky to do it from scratch, as they have to find the technology, the human resources and the services”.

According to Xiang Ligang, it will become very common for players from different industries to overlap in the TV market.

A. Alfaro

A. Alfaro is a Beijing-based freelance reporter. He focuses on China's politics, culture and society. He can be reached at varofaro@gmail.com. 

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