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Tsinghua Tongfang sees big future in LCD TVs
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Tsinghua Tongfang Co Ltd will invest four billion yuan (US$533 million) to build a manufacturing plant for flat screen televisions and related components in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, the Beijing-based company said in a statement yesterday.


Tsinghua Tongfang, which used to focus on personal computers and IT services, shows how the booming digital TV market in China has attracted many new players, industry insiders said.


Tsinghua Tongfang has started operation of the first phase in Shenyang. The facility cost US$500 million yuan. The company will produce LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs, PDP (plasma display panel) TVs and components like set-top boxes at the Shenyang plant.


The company plans to manufacture one million units annually in the first phase. Tsinghua Tongfang will increase annual production to three million units once the third phase of construction is completed, according to Wang Lianghai, Tsinghua Tongfang's assistant to the president in charge of the company's digital TV business.


"We will invest more in the digital TV sector as it has vast potential," Wang said. "Output at Shenyang will eventually hit five billion yuan."


In the first nine months, LCD TV output was 110.8 million units in China, up 71.6 percent from a year ago. LCD output accounted for 19.5 percent of all TV models, 8.4 percentage points more than the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Information Industry.


Globally, LCD TV panel sales jumped 59 percent year on year to hit 23.70 million units in the third quarter, according to DisplaySearch, a US-based IT research firm.


"Chinese consumers will favor new technology TVs for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008," iSuppli Corp, another US-based research firm, said in a note.


Tsinghua Tongfang has a 200-million-yuan deal for digital TVs from China-based home appliance retailer Gome. The company wants more than 1,000 retailers nationwide to sell its television sets, according to Wang.


(Shanghai Daily November 6, 2007)

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