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The rise of Indian TV makers, a threat to Samsung, LG and Sony

VU Technologies, the homegrown flat-panel television maker owned by Devita Saraf, is targeting to sell nearly half a million TVs this year. Last year, it sold 300,000 units.

business Updated: May 25, 2016 16:27 IST
Sunny Sen
Sunny Sen
Hindustan Times
The growth of Indian television makers like VU, Micromax and Intex is posing a serious threat to their Korean and Japanese counterparts like Samsung and Sony.(AFP)

VU Technologies, the homegrown flat-panel television maker owned by Devita Saraf, is targeting to sell nearly half a million TVs this year. Last year, it sold 300,000 units.

“We grew 360%, last year. Our revenue shot up from Rs 96 crore to Rs 275 crore,” said Saraf, who decided not to take any brand ambassador and modelled herself for VU.

VU’s partnered with Flipkart. During the e-commerce giant’s flagship Big Billion Day sale VU sold 35,000 television sets. It does 65% of its business through e-commerce.

But, VU is not the only Indian company. Micromax sold about a million units, cornering almost 10% of the market. Intex Technolgies 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 televisions mirrors its growth in mobiles – 30-40% low prices compared to multinationals, even if it is with smart features with internet connectivity and ultra high-definition video quality, and presence in tier II and tier III cities.

The Koreans and the Japanese ousted the former Indian television makers using the same tactic – lower prices, large distribution network and better technology. Indian incumbents BPL, Videocon and Onida lost the plot.

Now, after a decade and half of dominance, the Koreans and the Japanese face a similar threat. Even two years ago the Indian television makers were negligible.

“The way we have challenged the multi-nationals 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 tier II and III markets. Our prices are 30-35% lower than the international brands,” said Nidhi Markanday, head of consumer durables and IT products at Intex. Intex has an average selling price (ASPs) of Rs 14,000 and Micromax sells at an average of Rs 22,000. But, both the brands have seen ASPs 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 like internet enables 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 television. It is also building an app-ecosystems around entertainment. “Video-on-demand is big. We have partnered with Hotstar, Eros Now and bunch of other apps on the Opera store to offer video content on television,” said Saraf.

That is exactly what LeEco and Xiaomi did in China. Build an eco-system of content around television.

First Published: May 25, 2016 16:27 IST