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Trial To Join UHD Premium Chinese TV Makers Change Focus to Premium Market, Threatening Korean Firms

Chinese TV makers are chasing Korean companies in earnest in the sector of premium television set worth US$2,000 per unit, which has had the relatively lower quality competitiveness.

According to industry sources on June 19, Chinese TV manufacturers have rapidly grown the market based on their lower price strategy and the domestic market with the government’s subsidies, threatening Korean firms which have had dominated the global market.

According to the data from market research firm IHS, Korea maintained the number one spot with a 34.2 percent share in the global TV market in terms of shipments in the first quarter but there is only 2.8 percent points of difference between China with 31.4 percent. The two Korean companies –Samsung Electronics with a 21 percent share and LG Electronics with 13.2 percent, led the market, while seven Chinese brands – Hisense, TCL, Skyworth, Conga, Haier, Changhong and Xiaomi – entered the top 10 raising their combined market share.

Recently, particularly, Chinese firms are also aiming for the premium TV market which has been dominated by Korean firms. A premium TV is generally considered a product with a price tag of more than US$2,000 (2.35 million won). Chinese TV makers have significantly increased the market share based on the domestic market with their low-end models with a price tag of less than US$500 (587,000 won).

On the other hand, they couldn’t even think about expanding their share in the high-end market since Korean brands, like Samsung and LG, have invincible brand awareness and quality competitiveness. In fact, the two Korean companies had a combined market share of 73.8 percent – Samsung Electronics with 43.1 percent and LG Electronics with 30.7 percent – in the premium TV market in the fourth quarter last year. They are followed by Japan’s Sony with 14.9 percent and Sharp with 3.5 percent, showing a combined market share of nearly 20 percent. China’s Skyworth saw the highest market share with 1.3 percent but there is a considerable gap between Korean firms.

However, Chinese companies are recently making the movement to strategically grow the premium TV market by expanding to the global market.

Their involvement in the UHD Alliance, which held the first general meeting in Korea on the 15th, is part of the plan. The UHD Alliance is a global coalition which promotes UHD as the mainstream of the next-generation TV media market and it gives premium certification to TVs which passed standards. Only three brands – Samsung SUHD, LG OLED TV and Panasonic TV – received premium certification.

However, China’s TCL and Hisense have joined the UHD Alliance and made an effort to obtain premium certification. In addition to the two companies, other Chinese TV manufacturers are reportedly seeking to receive premium certification. In fact, TCL, Skyworth, Changhong and Conga are being supplied panels from Samsung Display and LG Display in order to push into the quantum dot and OLED TV markets which Samsung and LG focus on.


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