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TV makers urged to look rural

TO reduce their dependence on exports which have been hit during the global economic crisis, Chinese TV makers have to tap opportunities and expand in the domestic market as well as invest in the next-generation LCD panel lines, industry officials said at a display forum yesterday.

In the first two months of this year, Chinese TV exports tumbled 20 percent to 580,000 units year on year. But sales in the domestic market jumped 70 percent in the period to 2.8 million units, according to the China Video Industry Association.

"The home-grown TV makers have to reduce their dependence on exports and explore the rural regions," Lin Yuanfang, vice president of the association, said during the FPD China 2009 forum held in Shanghai.

China is now the global TV manufacturing base and exports one-fifth of the total TV output. But in the current tough global environment, China unveiled a plan to boost domestic consumption of home appliances called the "subsidized home appliances to rural areas." The project also seeks to support the electronics industry under the government's 4-trillion-yuan (US$585 billion) package to stimulate the economy.

Selected home appliances sold to rural residents now enjoy a subsidy of 13 percent provided by the government. The subsidies could be used to buy computers, air-conditioners, water heaters, TVs, refrigerators and washing machines as well as motorcycles and mobile phones.

"It's (the rural market) a gold mine for TV makers but they have to pay attention to services and distribution channels," said Yu Liangxing, general manager of AVC, a Beijing-based research firm.

Chinese TV makers, financed by the government, also plan to build advanced LCD lines to catch up with global rivals. Two or three sixth-generation to eight-generation lines will be built on the Chinese mainland over several years, industry insiders said.



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