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OnePlus to start assembling TV sets in India

Premium smartphone maker OnePlus is going to start production of television sets in India from this quarter, seeking to make the country its production hub for global supplies.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 07, 2020, 08.04 AM IST
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KOLKATA: Premium smartphone maker OnePlus is going to start production of television sets in India from this quarter, seeking to make the country its production hub for global supplies after the successful pilot of foraying into this category.

OnePlus India general manager Vikas Agarwal, who heads the Chinese company’s business in India, said OnePlus is also in talks with its global component suppliers for investments in India since all high-value components for television are currently imported.

OnePlus will assemble televisions in India through a partner after importing the television panel in open cell format, which requires further assembling to avail duty benefits.

New Delhi last year dropped import duties to nil on open cell television panels to help strengthen the ‘Make in India’ programme. Two senior industry executives said OnePlus is in discussions with home grown contract manufacturer Dixon Technologies to assemble televisions. Dixon currently manufactures for Samsung, Xiaomi and Panasonic.

OnePlus’ Agarwal declined to comment on the local partner. A mail sent to Dixon chairman Sunil Vachani remained unanswered.

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The Chinese brand is set to join Samsung in making products locally after the South Korean major last week announced its return to manufacturing of television sets through a partnership with Dixon in light of the Centre’s decision on import taxes. Even brands such as Xiaomi, Sony and LG have said they will expand local assembly facilities.

Agarwal said the company is currently targeting the brand’s core community of 5 million smartphone users in India to boost sales of its television sets, now sold through Amazon, Reliance Digital and its own brand stores. The company will soon expand television distribution to other large format sellers, replicating its smart-phone retailing strategy.

“Smart television is just 10% of the market and there is immense potential to grow. However, not all brands may survive like it happened in smartphones,” he said. OnePlus at present has 30 brand stores in India in 15 cities, which Agarwal said will be expanded to 100 stores in 50 cities by December 2020.

These stores are operated and managed by the brand, but the final sale is undertaken through a business partner. Agarwal said it has no plans to change this structure or start direct sales under retail FDI. “For smartphones, we are now targeting to be available in top general trade outlets. We have already partnered with Redington and reaching out to its top 100 stores,’’ he said

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