Indian TV companies get software licenses to rival China

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NEW DELHI: To compete with Chinese firms that dominate the worldwide market, television manufacturers in India are securing important software licenses for value addition in domestic TV manufacturing.

Such permits are necessary for contract manufacturers in the nation to transition from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to original design manufacturers (ODMs). While the latter owns the design, the former is in charge of creating already-designed products. Manufacturers in China started as OEMs decades ago before becoming suppliers to some of the biggest electronics businesses in the world.

TV brands had up to now dealt with Chinese ODMs that held exclusive licenses to operating systems like Android. This implies that the Chinese ODMs would receive payment from the Indian OEMs for all essential parts, including cabinets, LED lighting, and open-cell displays. Due to their collaborations with chip manufacturers, ODMs are also involved in the production of the main board that powers a TV. Some of the important Chinese ODMs include TCL, Skyworth, and BoE Technology Group.

The Indian businesses are essentially seeking to manage a larger chunk of the production process by evolving into ODMs.

Marwah mentioned that the nation still uses almost 200 million CRT TVs that have not been replaced with LED and smart TVs.

The capability for making TVs in China is undoubtedly around three times more than in India. But China’s capacity has been hampered by geopolitical unrest and covid-related lockdowns.

“Any company releasing a smart TV on the Android platform will be required to pay Google a license fee. When a manufacturer already has a Google license, the expense is often covered by the brands” the former chairman of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association, Rajeev Khushu, remarked (IESA). “India does have indigenous TV manufacturing, however, there are no native TV brands available. We had a handful, including Onida and BPL, as well as other smaller ones, but they all went out of business when Korean businesses joined the market with a wide range of diverse product designs,” he added.

There are no notable domestic TV brands in the nation, according to Anshika Jain, a senior research analyst at the research firm Counterpoint Research. The top three TV brands in the nation are Xiaomi, Samsung, and OnePlus. While these firms have been producing TVs in India, she continued, “White-label design production might bring in more choices for consumers—particularly in the low-price ranges. In the next three years, 40% of SPPL’s revenues, according to Marwah, will come from exports”.

But for many Indian businesses, obtaining licenses is just the beginning. Building the manufacturing value chain ought to take three to five years, if not more. At the time, China continues to supply the majority of the essential parts, and display production is still only in the planning stages.

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