Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) restrictions to boost indigenous manufacturing of televisions has been welcomed the trade bodies as well as Chinese OEMs. With the revision in the policy, brands will have to apply for a license for importing color TVs. Primarily imported from China and South East Asia, the new amendment will require OEMs to furnish details such as the origin of the consignment, even when the shipment is routed through a different country.
"Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) welcomes the move by the government to impose restrictions on imports of TV sets. This is expected to have a positive impact as it will provide a major boost to the indigenous manufacturing and 'self-reliant' theme of India. It will attract more investments in the technology and manufacturing which will lead to creation of more jobs," says Kamal Nandi, President of CEAMA and Business Head & Executive Vice President at Godrej Appliances.
TV is one of the larger segments under the entire domain of Appliance and Consumer Electronics, accounting to a volume of almost 17 million with an estimated sale value ranging between 15,000 crore. The TV industry is also one of the biggest employers with estimated employment of 40,000+ people directly and many more indirectly through the ancillary units.
Similar to the smartphone segment, there has been a sudden influx of Chinese OEMs such as Xiaomi, TCL, OnePlus, Honor, etc., in the smart TV space over the last couple of years. While some of the OEMs have been manufacturing locally, more than 36 per cent of the overall estimated value is still imported. The new amendment will increase paperwork and might delay shipments, helping defer dependence on imports from China and South-East Asia. However, this move has been welcomed by some of the Chinese OEMs too.
Dominated by the likes of LG, Samsung and Sony, Xiaomi revolutionised the TV space in India with its feature-rich yet aggressively priced smart TVs. "Xiaomi has been manufacturing smart TVs in India since the launch of Mi TVs in 2018. We believe that this decision will encourage and give a boost to local manufacturing," a Xiaomi spokesperson said. Of the total sales, 85 per cent of the Mi TVs are manufactured in India.
"The change is welcoming given India is a potential market for electronics. As a brand, we do understand that the move is important to strengthen the electronic and manufacturing roots of India. We are adhering to all norms laid out by the Government," says Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL India. One of the leading names in TV panels worldwide, TCL recently started manufacturing TVs in India. The plant in Tirupati, which is equipped to produce 8 million TVs a year, has been able to meet 70 per cent of the domestic demand.
According to the sources, the country is ready for the shift of manufacturing to India with cost-effective imports of essential parts, if required. A Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP) for TVs is underway and specified parts like open-cell, chips on films, Printed Circuit Boards Assembly (PCBA ) are exempted from duty. Over the last couple of years, through sustained support, the extent of domestic demand has increased from 50 per cent in 2018-19 to 64 per cent in 2019 -20.
It is believed that extensive consultations have been held with industry and ways to reduce the imports are under process. "CEAMA is committed to promoting indigenous manufacturing of TVs in the country and is closely working with the government to formulate and facilitate both phased manufacturing and end-to-end manufacturing of Televisions in the country. It has been in discussion with the government on a phased manufacturing plan of TVs since 2017 and has submitted various representations to the government to convey the benefits of such a plan," adds Nandi. It is not a unilateral exercise executed by the government without taking the industry in confidence. Hence, industry will be able to rapidly move to domestic manufacturing and consumer will not see any price escalation.