June 4, 2019 / 10:53 AM / 12 days ago

Samsung seeks bigger share of Indian market with new line of high-end TVs

BENGALURU, June 4 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Tuesday it was aiming to expand its share of the India flat-screen TV market to more than a third within months, as it unveiled a new line of premium TVs it hopes will stave off the slowdown it and other suppliers have seen in other markets.

India’s expanding middle class, buoyed by more than a decade of uninterrupted growth, is splurging money on smart TVs. Samsung and others expect a substantial boost to sales from the Cricket World Cup, currently underway in England and Wales.

Sales will also get a boost during India’s festival season, when households traditionally spend heavily on presents and more increasingly on electronics, and retailers offer heavy discounts, culminating with Diwali - the annual festival of lights.

“Our strategic target is to move towards a 34% market share in November after Diwali,” senior vice president Raju Pullan told Reuters.

Pullan estimates Samsung’s current market share at roughly 30%.

Powered by its more than 1 billion consumers, the country’s thirst for better TV’s has also become an important growth market for Netflix, Sky, Apple and others in the past two years and some media estimates have valued the flatscreen TV market at more than $3 billion.

Manufacturers in Asia have been watching the escalation of the U.S.-China trade war nervously, with market research firm IHS Markit saying recently that South Korean and Chinese TV makers had cut panel orders in the second quarter.

Samsung, best-known for its mobile phones, tablets and consumer electronics, but also the world’s biggest maker of microchips, reported its weakest profit in over two years in April.

India remains relatively unscathed territory, with Samsung occupying the top spot in the local TV market. The company is facing competition from LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp, as well as a handful of smaller Chinese rivals.

Samsung launched four new premium television sets in India on Tuesday, with the most expensive priced at about 6 million rupees ($86,629.95) ($1 = 69.2600 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Derek Francis and Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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