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Toshiba piloting 'Made in India' TV sets

The Hindu Business Line:  January, 2012

Chennai: Toshiba, the $77-billion electronics and durables giant from Japan, is piloting local manufacturing of TV sets in India.

According to Mr Wu Tengguo, Director, Digital Products and Home Appliances Division, Toshiba India, the company “has begun manufacturing select TV models in limited numbers at a facility in Dehra Dun.”

Going forward, it could go in for local manufacture in a bigger way, either by setting up its own facility, or through exclusive contract to manufacture TVs and consumer durables for the local market, he said. A feasibility study is on.

Besides, the company has also established a local R&D unit to create products specific to the Indian market.

Only local manufacturing will enable it to ramp up volumes in categories such as refrigerators and washing machines, where it currently has only a small play in India.

According to Mr Tengguo, Toshiba has managed to beat its targets and garner 10 per cent share of the close to 4.5-million-unit flat panel TV market here. Attributing this to the company's “aggressively positioned product range, supported by a well-oiled distribution structure and aggressive marketing campaigns,” he said the original plan was to achieve this by 2012.

Toshiba had run a high decibel campaign ‘Ready for More' between August and October 2011 on which, Mr Tengguo said, it had spent $20 million. “This gave the brand amazing visibility,” he says.

With the aim of achieving 10 per cent share of the Indian PC market and 15 per cent share of the TV market by 2013, it has recently also launched a mega brand campaign with Sachin Tendulkar. Besides, “we are also ramping up our in-shop display in multi-brand outlets and have set a target for opening more number of brand stores too,” he said.

More products

Encouraged by its TV sales, the company now intends to expand its product portfolio. It is exploring the possibility of launching various products including tablets, smart phones, DVD players, audio devices, digital cameras and a range of small appliances. The 55-inch glassless 3D TV that Toshiba pioneered, which doesn't require viewers to wear spectacles, also figures prominently on its radar. Till now, the India launch had been put on hold. “It works out a little expensive. And hence, we are studying various options. But, we will launch it in India hopefully before the end of the year,” he said.

Service ramp-up

Mr Tengguo also said Toshiba is expanding its service footprint to keep pace with the sales expectations. The brand currently only offers an on-site service in select cities. “Our intention is to extend this facility to all cities gradually,” said Mr Tengguo. Currently, Toshiba has 95 service centres spread over 73 cities.