Founded in 1985, the Chinese multinational electronics company TCL Corporation is among the world’s largest consumer electronics and home appliances manufacturers. In 2013 the company became the world’s third-largest television producer by market share. In Nepal, the company has partnered with Chaudhary Group (CG) ever since entering the market in 2012. Recently, Moonphy Gu, Sales Representative of TCL Air Conditioner Business Division, Overseas Marketing Center and Nate, Sales Manager of India Region of TCL Home Appliances Overseas Business Division were in Nepal for a business trip. New Business Age caught up with Gu and Nate to talk about the market for TCL products, expansion plans, partnership with CG, among other topics. Excerpts:
How have the last four years been for TCL in Nepal?
Gu: We feel very honoured to have a partner like CG. The Group is very popular and has a strong reputation in the Nepali market. The TCL brand was completely unknown in Nepal when we first came here. Compared to four years ago, we have seen a lot of improvement in the market. We feel confident partnering with CG and will increase the market share gradually.
How is TCL expanding its brand presence in the consumer electronics segment here? What products are enjoying relative success in Nepal?
Gu: Firstly, we have penetrated this market with our best-selling products like TVs. After that we have refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners. We think air conditioners have lots of potential here.
Nate: TCL is one of the strongest home appliance and consumer electronics brands in China. We have our brand presence already in more than 95 countries. We are at number three in terms of TV products and air conditioners, whereas in mobile phones we are at the number five spot. We have various types of products. In Nepal, we have already promoted our TV sets, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners and chest freezers. We want to bring high quality products to Nepal.
The Nepali market already has many other popular consumer electronics and home appliances brands. How tough is the competition for TCL?
Gu: There is a very strong presence of Indian and Korean brands in the Nepali market. After spending time in this market we now have a better understanding about what the customers want. So we are thinking of developing special types of products to compete with other brands.
What are the special features of TCL air conditioners, chest freezers and refrigerators?
Gu: TCL air conditioners come with ‘Titan Gold’ technology. The self-cleaning function of this technology helps to clear out water on the surface of the evaporator that leaves no space for mould and odorous matter. The AC also provides special filters for carbon dioxide which also keep harmful bacteria and dust away. In the Nepali market, this feature is very necessary as there is a lot of air pollution here. When you open the TCL air conditioners even after nine or ten years you will see the evaporator clean. So with Titan gold technology we can bring a more healthy life to our customers. The price of chest freezers is very reasonable, whereas the build design is totally different from other similar products. We have a colourful body chest refrigerator as others are white in colour. Similarly, the chest freezer also can be operated at low voltage.
Nate: We set up a new manufacturing plant for washing machines and refrigerators in central China in 2014. It is one of the biggest washing machine and refrigerator manufacturing units in China. We believe that our washing machines and refrigerators are the best in quality. We are getting good feedback from the market in terms of ACs, chest freezers and refrigerators.
How do you assess the growth of the Nepali consumer electronics market?
Gu: Firstly, we think that we need to make our brand well known among consumers. Secondly, we need to cooperate further with our partner CG to have a better understanding about the Nepali market. In the upcoming days we will penetrate the Nepali market with more products. We are trying to bring more user-friendly products here.
Are you planning to introduce any new products in the market?
Gu: We will be introducing the ‘Miracle’ series of air conditioners. We call it a smart air conditioner as it has Wi-Fi feature. It is easy to assemble and install as well. This product has the lowest noise level. It also saves maintenance time.
What are your plans for expansion?
Nate: We will be offering more products. We also want to push our brand. We want to be in the top three in the Nepali market in the next two years.