TCL Corp is in talks with consumer electronics maker Thomson of France over a television joint venture as part of its aggressive global market expansion. The companies are believed to be pooling their facilities to create a television manufacturing behemoth with an annual production capacity of more than 18 million units. Already the mainland's second-biggest television maker, TCL could surpass its largest domestic rival - Sichuan Changhong Electric - in production volume with the joint venture. Changhong produced 9.04 million televisions last year, followed by TCL's 7.97 million units. 'We aim to become one of the world's top five television and mobile communication equipment manufacturers,' a spokesman for TCL said. 'We are in talks with Thomson over a strategic partnership ... but there is no information that can be disclosed now.' Last year, Thomson complained that mainland television manufacturers had infringed its patent rights and demanded fees for the use of 20 patents between last year and 2005. Plagued by fierce competition in the domestic market, key mainland television makers such as Changhong, Konka and TCL have made aggressive forays into overseas markets through original equipment manufacturing, sales under their own brands or by buying foreign production plants. TCL International Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of TCL Corp, acquired bankrupt German television maker Schneider last year, paving the way for an aggressive sales push in the European market. Yesterday, TCL International posted a 13 per cent year-on-year decrease in net profit to $137 million for the third quarter to September, in line with analysts' expectations. The company blamed intense competition for the fall in earnings. Turnover rose 19 per cent to $3.73 billion.