TCL Technology, formerly known as TCL Corporation, is a Chinese consumer electronics company that specializes in televisions, cell phones, and household appliances. Though originally founded as a state-owned enterprise, TCL became a publicly traded company in 2004, and consequently experienced rapid growth in recent years.
Web of companies to cover the market
TCL evolved from a state-owned enterprise to a multinational corporation. The company was founded in 1981 after the Mao era as a government-owned cassette manufacturer. In 2004, TCL Corporation decided to list certain units of its operation on the stock exchange in Hong Kong. Since then, the company carried out strategic acquisitions around the world to build its know-how in the television industry. Following this path, TCL extended its product portfolio to offer a wide range of consumer electronics, household commodities, and green technology.
Through a web of affiliated companies, TCL manages to cover a broad spectrum of market segments.
The core of the group are TCL Industries Holdings, TCL Electronics, and their subsidiaries who cover the display and household appliance business units. In addition, Tonly manufactures and distributes consumer electronics such as speakers, wearables, and AIoT devices. With TCL Zhonghuan Renewable Energy, the group serves the photovoltaic and semiconductor device market. Through its wide net of companies, the TCL group not only diversifies, but also builds expertise in industry niches.
The industry has an identity shift
After establishing themselves as a cheap electronics manufacturer, many Chinese companies attempt to leave the budget image behind. When consumer electronics and household appliance companies from China took entered the domestic and overseas market, they did so by producing affordable and basic alternatives to established brands. Companies like Haier, Xiaomi, and TCL utilized locational advantages such as cheap labor and low regulation. However, as the Chinese economy matured, these advantages started to dwindle, and companies were forced into producing higher-value goods.
While many roads lead to Rome, it seems that the industry identified the most effective strategy. The approaches to diversification and development are very different. For instance, Xiaomi began to lean into the Apple aesthetic and released stylish and modern products. Others, like TCL focus on producing higher quality products. However, across the industry, manufacturers have embraced the concept of smart products and the Internet of Things. Most consumer electronics and household appliance brands offer intelligent devices and have their software ecosystem. Furthermore, the strategy might not only be a ticket to securing the market position for Chinese companies but also offer a chance to compete with incumbent brands on a level playing field.
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Research expert covering finance, real estate, and technology in Greater China