NEW DELHI: VU Technologies, the homegrown flat-panel television maker owned by Devita Saraf, is looking to sell nearly half a million TVs this year. Last year it sold 300,000 units.
“We grew 360%, last year. Our revenue rose from Rs 96 crore to Rs 275 crore,” said Saraf, who decided not to take any brand ambassador, and promote VU herself.
VU partnered with Flipkart. During the latter’s flagship Big Billion Day sale, VU sold 35,000 televisions. It does 65% of its business through e-commerce.
VU is not the only Indian company.
Micromax sold about a million units last year, cornering almost 10% of the market. Intex Technologies sold half a million. Between the three of them, they held 20% of the flat-panel market, which was estimated to be 10-12 million units, last year.
The growth of Indian companies in the television segment mirrors its growth in mobiles – 30-40% low prices compared to multinationals (Samsung, LG and Sony), but with all the smart features, including internet connectivity and ultra highdefinition video quality.
The Koreans and the Japanese ousted the former Indian television makers using the same tactic — lower prices, large distribution networks and better technology. BPL, Videocon and Onida lost the plot.
Now, after a decade and half of dominance, the Koreans and the Japanese face a similar threat. .
“The way we have challenged the multinationals in mobiles, we hope to do the same in televisions,” said Sunil Dutt Sharma, business head of consumer durables at Micromax Informatics.
The Indian firms first targeted the value-conscious market, people who aspired to hang a television on the wall, but couldn’t afford an international brand.
“We target the smaller towns and cities. Our prices are 30-35% lower than international brands,” said Nidhi Markanday, head of consumer durables and IT products at Intex. Intex has an average selling price of Rs 14,000, and Micromax Rs 22,000. But both brands have seen prices go up in the last couple of years.
More than half of the televisions sold are between 32-42 inches in size. Micromax and Intex bet on its reach that they have built by selling mobiles. Micromax sells televisions through 25,000 retail touch points. Intex sells through 8,000.
Now, the Indian companies are looking at getting the premium chunk of the market – the ultra high-definition and the smart television. Micromax’s IQ range comes with super-smart technologies, such as, internetenabled features and an air mouse on the remote control.
VU has taken a step forward. It has introduced Netflix as a readily available feature in its televisions. It is also building an app-ecosystems around entertainment. “Video-on-demand is big. We have partnered with Hotstar, Eros Now and a bunch of other apps on the Opera store to offer video content on television,” Saraf said.
That is exactly what LeEco and Xiaomi did in China. Build an eco-system of content around television.