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Are smartphone makers the next competition for the Television Market in India?

We remember days when Micromax was the smartphone brand to beat in India. They, along with a host of other home-grown Indian brands like Lava, Intex enjoyed over 50% of the market share. All that changed when Chinese names like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei and Oppo came onto the scene.

Their hold on the phone market has all but vanished, as they only have about 10% left. So they were left with either moving onto a different product or exit the technology market altogether. And it appeared to have worked as Micromax began selling TVs. They managed to get back their market share and revenue in terms of 80,000 LED TV sets being sold each month in 2019 alone. Two years ago, Micromax was losing out on smartphone sales, today they have a booming TV business! Intex too had done the same thing and sold 45,000 TVs approximately 4.5% of their share.

But, wherever you go, your competition follows and this is proving to be true for Micromax and Intex. Japanese and Korean giants like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, and LG were established in TV sales and tapped the smartphone market for additional revenue, where Samsung was the clear winner. Micromax followed in their step and went from smartphones to TV and found success there.

In addition to Micromax, three big Chinese names – Xiaomi, OnePlus and Huawei want to test out the waters too and will be introducing entry-level LED TV sets in the television market in India, priced competitively this year.

Huawei intends on launching a TV appliance under the now famous Honor brand and they have even legally protected an ‘AI Window’ associated with smart TVs. They did release on Honor A5 4K smart TV back in 2014 but will make a real debut soon.

Driving this product intention is infamous 5G networking ban applied by the US on Huawei, successfully locking out their American smartphone market share. Huawei now feels compelled to head to India with their TV offerings. They will not just be extending their screen business but taking on the big established players as well. And they have plenty of favours working in their favour as well.

For one, they’ve already built their brand presence through the sale of smartphones, which consumers feel have been priced reasonably, given them the best hardware and software to use and are better. This trust is enough to push new products and in the future, they will disrupt the market and grab shares enjoyed by the big TV makers.

The OnePlus brand known for making flagship phones at a cheaper rate will be expanding into smart TVs in 2019 as well. They will be applying the same manufacturing philosophies used for making their phones to the TVs, merging audio and video quality with flagship design.

It’s a bold move and one that makes sense. The market is flooded with options and prices on the average LEDs are starting to fall – and as more players enter, the competition will get intense. Chinese smartphone makers are likely to adopt the same pricing strategy that they had used when entering the smartphone segment. That is to price the product as low as possible, preferably lower than the competition, and hope for the best!

Two years ago, one had to pay Rs. 13,500 for a 32 inch TV. For the same price tag, one get a bigger HD TV. 4K smart TVs are being sold for roughly about 45,000 which is a big drop from the previous 80,000 tags!

Cut-throat pricing is what Chinese smartphone brands are hoping for and they already have their sights set for the entry level TVs and might force established players to build a moat around their high-end offerings.