Chinese TV maker TCL looks to artificial intelligence as it reports strongest sales growth in five years

World’s third-largest television maker will cooperate with Google and Baidu to personalise content for its users, though rivals are ahead already

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 11:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 5:07pm

Chinese television maker TCL Multimedia said it will focus on using artificial intelligence technology to offer users more personalised content as the firm reported its strongest sales growth in five years.

TCL, the world’s third largest television maker, said at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas on Monday that it will cooperate with companies such as Google and Baidu to personalise content for its users. New TCL models will come with Google Assistant, Google’s voice-activated home assistant, which will allow users to control smart devices at home from their television sets, the company said.

The Shenzhen-based company’s focus on artificial intelligence comes as more tech firms seek to offer users customised experiences through the analysis of big data to try and increase their market share in an industry where hardware specifications are no longer the sole deciding factor for consumers.

“We will continue to invest in technologies that will help transform the future of the television industry, to ultimately benefit our consumers,” said TCL Corporation chairman and chief executive Tomson Li.

TCL’s move to integrate Google’s voice-activated assistant lags behind major rivals like Vizio, the top television brand in the US, which incorporated the feature in its Smartcast line of televisions early last year. South Korea’s LG, also a rival of TCL in the US market, this week announced that its high end televisions shipped this year will be compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

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TCL is known in the US for its affordable, value-for-money television sets, achieving No 3 ranking in the country in less than three years after entering the market in 2013. Last year, the company said it was looking to release TCL-branded smartphones in the US, where it already manufactures devices for brands such as BlackBerry and Alcatel.

TCL also said it will release television with better display technologies and bigger screens in response to increasing consumer demand for these features.

The company said it has completed construction of its US$7.09 billion G11 manufacturing facility for the latest generation of flat panels and will boost production of 65-inch and 75-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screens.

TCL also announced record sales volume for 2017, selling over 23.2 million LCD televisions for the year, a 16.4 per cent year on year growth.

Overseas market growth jumped by a third, thanks to strong sales in North America, where sales surged 31.5 per cent, as well as from emerging markets like Brazil.

“We are thrilled to report such robust global business growth in 2017, especially in the North American market,” Li said.