TCL’s new internet TV to leverage online video arms of Tencent, Alibaba

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 6:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2017, 7:01pm

TCL Corporation, one of China’s largest TV makers, has unveiled a new internet TV brand geared towards younger consumers that will leverage the content pipelines of web giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding.

Shenzhen-listed TCL launched on Wednesday the internet-enabled TV brand Ffalcon. The venture reflects the group’s latest effort to use diversified branding to tap growth opportunities amid fierce competition in China’s TV market.

The Ffalcon brand is designed to integrate with the online video arms of Tencent and Alibaba to create an entertainment ecosystem featuring a wide range of copyright content that includes domestic and foreign movies, television dramas and live sports.

“We want to build up a super team that knows not only television, but also internet and content,” said Guo Tong, the head of Ffalcon Technology, an independent firm set up earlier this year.

The collaboration will allow Ffalcon to sell products on either Alibaba’s Tmall platform or, in which Tencent has a stake. The two online marketplaces account for more than 80 per cent of China’s business-to-customer market.

The new brand is expected to help TCL tap opportunities in the internet-enabled TV segment and defend its existing market share.

Zhang Bing, principal analyst at IHS Markit, said the brand can help TCL expand its product portfolio to cover more potential buyers without sabotaging the pricing of its existing products and sales channels.

“Selling products online means shoppers across China, be they in major cities or rural areas, will get a chance to buy the same products at the same price. The pricing is quite transparent comp

ared with brick-and-mortar sales channels in which bigger dealers in large cities can usually get cheaper products than smaller dealers in remote areas,” Zhang said.

Founded in 1981 in Huizhou, TCL currently ranks among the top three TV makers globally. In 2016, the company shipped a record 20.2 million TV sets across the world.

TLC accounted for about one-fifth of China’s domestic television shipments in 2016. This year about 51.32 million TV sets are expected to sold in China, a decrease of 1.4 per cent on year, according to home appliance research firm China Market Monitor.

TCL’s Shenzhen-listed shares ended unchanged at 3.63 yuan on Wednesday.

Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.