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China’s leading technology guides the future of its TV manufacturing industry

(People's Daily Online)    15:55, July 10, 2018

With the World Cup craze, the demand for large-screen and high-definition smart TVs is set to explode. The launch of Hisense’s laser TV in 2014 is proof that Chinese companies have gained a top position in display technologies, Global Times reported.

Television is one of mankind’s greatest inventions in the 20th century, whereas China is the world’s largest consumer market for TV sets.

Ever since China’s first TV set—a 14-inch black-and-white TV, debuted in 1958, hundreds of Chinese TV companies have been competing with Japanese and South Korean companies in the home appliance industry, but it would be decades before China gained a favorable position.

From Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) to Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED), Japanese companies took the lead in the development of the core technology of TVs and the latest production technologies, until they were eventually surpassed by the South Korean companies, represented by Samsung and LG.

After years of hard work and trials of joint ventures to set up factories and introduce production lines, Chinese TV companies realized that core technology cannot be obtained through imitation. They realized that they must catch up through their own hard work only through self-reliance, and thus began working on LCD panels and modules and ULED display technology.

Hisense’s advanced laser TVs—the “next-generation display technology,” has surpassed Japanese and South Korean companies after seven years of technological research and development featuring huge investment and zero output, and four years of rapid product iterations.

On July 1, Hisense, the official TV sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, launched its World Cup slogan “Top Chinese Laser TVs” in honor of China’s 60 years of efforts in the home appliance industry.

A price war broke out following Changhong TV’s announcement that it would cut its prices by 8 to 18 percent in 1996, and most domestic brands were forced to follow suit. The result ended in failure for them.

Hisense, however, did not cut its prices, claiming (and proving) that its quality was well worth the price. Acting as a leader rather than a follower, it became the only surviving domestic TV brand in northern China.

Throughout the era of CRT TVs, although Chinese TV companies were nominal players, they still lagged behind in terms of core technology and manufacturing. Moreover, the technology blockade of Japanese and South Korean companies had an effect.

In 2005, LCD TVs saw explosive growth. Upstream companies from South Korea and Japan completely controlled LCD panels, which accounted for 70 percent of the cost, leaving little room for Chinese companies to make profits.

In 2007, the first domestic LCD module production line was put into production at Hisense. Afterward, under the efforts of the Ministry of Information and Industry Technology (MIIT), Chinese TV companies began to make modules, regaining space for domestic companies in the industry.

In 2011, Japanese and South Korean companies launched OLED technology, investing nearly 10 billion US dollars a year, in an attempt to regain control of the market. However, OLED technology was hobbled by two drawbacks: immature technology and excessive price.

In 2014, Hisense, relying on mature LED technology, successfully launched the first ULED TV, which was superior to OLED in terms of color and clarify, and the cost was much lower than OLED.

Meanwhile, Hisense accelerated its pace in the development of its fourth-generation TV technology—laser TV, and released the world’s first 100-inch ultra-short-focus laser TV in the same year. For the first time ever, Chinese companies ran ahead of the competition in developing next-generation display technology.

The 80-inch 4K laser TV released by Hisense in May hit its highest sales level in week 26 (June 25-July 1), according to China Market Monitor Corporation (CMM), an authoritative third-party data organization in China. It was the first time that laser TV became the best-selling product in the market since its birth in 2014.

From R&D to manufacturing, the laser TV is developed independently by Hisense, who has complete independent intellectual property rights. Hisense ranked first with 26.88 percent of sales, surpassing South Korea’s Samsung and Japan’s Sony for the first time. Moreover, it maintains its advantages to this day.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Sun Zhao, Bianji)

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