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Consumer electronic brand Thomson has re-entered the Indian market with a range of smart televisions, nearly 15 years after it left. The 120-year-old brand is making its entry in partnership with local TV manufacturing firm Super Plastronics (SPPL) and e-commerce giant Flipkart.
Thomson, owned by French consumer electronic and media conglomerate Technicolor, will compete with Xiaomi, which has recently entered the affordable smart TV market in India.
SPPL, which has manufacturing and distribution rights for the brand, is launching three models — priced aggressively — to counter the Chinese major. The 32-inch smart TV from Thomson is priced at Rs 13,490 compared to Xiaomi’s 32-inch Mi TV at Rs 13,999. The other two models — 40-inch and 43-inch — are priced significantly lower than Mi TV. And, its 40-inch variant (priced at Rs 19,990) is placed against Xiaomi's (43-inch TV) priced at Rs 22,999.
However, Thomson’s new journey in India would not be without obstacles. The TV market here is crowded with all major Asian brands competing for a larger share of the pie. And no European brand has managed to make a mark in the recent years.
Sebastian Crombez, who handles sales, marketing and trademark licensing at Technicolor, is aware of the challenge ahead.
“The market here is very competitive. But India is an important market for Thomson, which is now in a growing mode. We are also expanding operations in Africa and other major Asian markets,” Crombez said.
As share of e-commerce channels in the TV market is growing fast, Technicolor is relying on Flipkart for sales.
According to estimates, share of the online channel stood at 14 per cent and Flipkart lead the pack with 9 per cent share in its kitty. To tide over the turbulence ahead, Technicolor has roped in SPPL that has over three decades of experience in manufacturing and marketing televisions in the country.
According to Avneet Singh Marwah, director & CEO of SPPL, it has invested Rs 500 million in last three years to expand capacity and has lined up Rs 1.5 billion to further ramp it up.
Despite stiff completion at the market after Xiaomi entered the space in February, Marwah says, keeping its business profitable will not be a concern.
Currently, it has licensing for Kodak TV in India and after bagging rights for Thomson, Marwah is now eyeing a market share of close to seven percent by end-2018. SPPL has three manufacturing units and has 1,000 people working in them.