To encourage domestic production of TV, India has once again imposed restrictions on the import of colour TVs. In a recent notification, the import policy of colour televisions in India has been amended from free to restricted by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). According to the new directive, to import certain categories of completely build units (CBD) of colour TVs, brands which import will have to apply for a licence.
"In India, TVs are mostly imported from East Asian countries such as Vietnam and China. The licencing factor may discourage TV import in India. This will directly affect the import of budget segment TVs, particularly the 32-Inch TV sets which hold the largest market share in India in terms of size," says Debasish Jana, Research Associate, Counterpoint.
Amendment in import policy from free to restricted has been introduced to promote the government's Make in India initiative. This might require companies to disclose additional details and information of the shipments such as the source of origin. However, industry sources suggest, it can cause some delay in imports. This new revised restricted policy will be applicable on television sets with a screen size of up to 105 cm,(41.3-inch), LCD television sets below 63cm (24.8-inch), and others. However, the procedure for the grant of the license has not been revealed yet and will be issued separately.
The new policy is expected to have a positive impact on the Make in India initiative and local manufacturing. The move is unlikely to impact OEMs who manufacture TVs in India. Brands such as LG, Panasonic, Sony, to name a few, have been manufacturing TVs in India for domestic consumption.
Sony has invested heavily to shift local manufacturing of televisions to India since 2015 and is manufacturing 99 per cent of BRAVIA televisions in India. "We are quite satisfied with the production quality, which is at par with global standards and well accepted by our Indian consumers. We have faith in the Government and this step has built the right momentum for India's journey to becoming self-reliant," says Satish Padmanabhan, Head of Sales at Sony India.
Similarly, Panasonic has been assembling and manufacturing TVs in India for the last decade. The company has also invested in backward integration for select components such as PCBs. "We welcome the revised policy on TV imports as it will further strengthen our efforts towards make in India to offer smart and reliable products to our consumers. The TV industry will get the much-needed impetus towards an Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative, through contract manufacturing, investments through backward integration and local production of components," says Manish Sharma, President & CEO, Panasonic India. While OnePlus India refused to comment on this matter, an email query sent to Xiaomi India went unanswered at the time of filing.
However, LG views this as an opportunity to strengthen domestic manufacturing even further, "At the same time we anticipate an increase in our business due to our India Insight products specially designed and made for the Indian market, reach across India (dealer distributor network) and quality service availability across India", says Gireesan T Gopi, Business Head, Home Entertainment, LG Electronics India.
The revised restrictions are imposed on the import of the CBUs and not components. "No, this restriction does not imply on components as we have no alternative but to source them from factories in China. Samsung and LG Display are also closing their panel manufacturing line, so we are dependent on Taiwan and China for components, as of now," says Avneet Singh Marwah, Founder and CEO, SPPL. The exclusive brand licensee of Kodak TV in India, SPPL manufacture TVs in India in three units.
"The government decision is also expected to have a positive effect on India's TV manufacturing sector as component imports are still allowed, and Open Cell, the main component of the TV panel, have zero import duty," adds Jana.
India needs to have component and panel display manufacturing plants to steadily support TV manufacturing.