Quality-control inspectors at work at TCL's factory in Vietnam. One of the earliest Chinese enterprises to expand overseas, TCL entered Vietnam in 1999. Its market share in the Southeast Asian country has exceeded 16 percent by 2015.
TCL's electronics ventures abroad, cooperation pacts pay off, netting 50% of revenue
Encouraged by success in Europe, Chinese consumer electronics major TCL Corp is stepping up efforts to expand its presence the world over, particularly in Russia, the Middle East and Africa.
Nearly 50 percent of its revenue already comes from outside China. Overall sales rose 8 percent year-on-year to 52.2 billion yuan ( billion) in the first half of this year, generating a profit of 1.66 billion yuan, up 111 percent.
The Vietnam factory targets the Southeast Asia market, the Mexican factory aims at North America and Central America, the joint venture factory in Egypt covers the whole of Africa and Central Asia, and a similar factory in Brazil serves South America.
TCL is expecting its TV sales from a factory in central Poland to reach 3 million units within the next three years. That would make it one of the top three electronics manufacturers in Europe by 2020.
"On the back of the Belt and Road Initiative, TCL has accelerated its expansion in European countries by setting up factories and cooperating with local partners to gain more market share," said Liang Zhenpeng, a consumer electronics analyst.
The geographic advantage of TCL's plant in Poland has enabled the electronics giant to make headway in Europe, a key market.
The plant was originally established and run by Thomson SA, a French electronics company. When TCL acquired Thomson in 2004, the plant was also transferred to TCL, said Chen Chuanlun, the factory's general manager.
The factory covers an area of 105,000 square meters, with four production lines that manufacture televisions whose screen sizes range from 22 inches to 80 inches.
It only takes 2 seconds to produce one TV set and when all production lines operate, they can produce 1.39 million TV sets per shift and 4.2 million units in three shifts.
"Originally, maritime transport from China to Poland took 38 days, which greatly impeded the company's expansion in the European market. But, under the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Europe freight trains shortened the transport time to only 16 days. TCL also linked its factory in Chengdu with that in Poland," said Chen.
The Poland facility, geographically in the middle of Europe, employs about 200 workers. The goods made here can be delivered to the farthest European country－Portugal－in just four days, and most other European countries in three days.
"Local workers have worked in our factories for more than 10 years, so they can constantly collect the most advanced product information in Poland and even from across Europe, which will be sent back to the R&D center in China," Chen said.
Based on customer feedback and suggestions, domestic developers design or make products, Chen added.
Moreover, Polish workers tend to be loyal and committed, with an annually attrition rate of just 1 percent.
According to Chen, every year the company sends workers producing good performance in the Polish factory to attend a year-end commendation ceremony in China.