Frédéric Langin, TCL Europe’s General Manager Sales & Marketing, and Antoine Salomé, Marketing Director in Europe, discuss how the Chinese manufacturing powerhouse is planning to build on its success on the Continent..
Already a major global player, TCL has its sight for expansion into valuable European markets. We asked Frédéric Langin and Antoine Salomé about the company’s strategy for continental growth.
FL: We want to be in the top three in three major markets by 2020. We are already top three in China and the US, and that is our target in Europe. We have two years to continue growing and very soon we will bring more products into the ecosystem. Not just TV but audio products like headphones, speakers and soundbars. But TV is the biggest market, a flagship where you can build the brand.
What is your spearhead product in Europe?
FL: The C76 LCD TV is tailored for Europe, it’s really the product that is our flagship in the European market. It has won the EISA award, which is a huge achievement for us. It shows what we can bring as technology in a product with a very good value proposition. Of course we offer technologies like any other company, but we want people to be able to afford them.
Are you taking a different approach for the European market?
AS: We carry out customer surveys at a global level to understand the different targets for TCL in different regions. The C76 is really meeting the needs of European customers because, of course, picture quality is key, but after that in Europe the criteria are sound quality and ease of use.
FL: We really base all that we do on customer needs, so we do focus groups because we believe that is the way to do it.
You launched in the UK in June. How is it developping?
FL: The UK was important for us because if you want to be in the top three in Europe, you have to be in the UK – it’s the second biggest European market. It is too early to make rm predictions, but the reviews we received from consumers and the feedback in terms of sales, and the reviews from the tech press, was awesome.
The important thing for us now is to get into the stores – because we wanted to test the waters first with an online launch. We are in 25 European countries already and our next targets will be the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
OUR NEXT TARGETS WILL BE THE NETHERLANDS, AUSTRIA AND SWITZERLAND
How have you been raising brand awareness with the public?
AS: Endorsements and brand ambassadors are really key for us to develop the brand in Europe. We have signed Neymar globally. Football is absolutely people’s favourite sport on TV, so it was really important for us to activate this during the World Cup. We are using brand ambassadors to build the brand in Europe with already very good results.
What is your mission here at IFA?
FL: We are here to show we are one of the biggest tech companies in the world. At the moment in Europe we sell only TVs, and soon audio products, but look at our booth: you see white goods, you see small appliances like toothbrushes. That’s because TCL is a company employing 75,000 people and TV is only 25% of it.
How have your vertically integrated production methods in China helped in your success?
FL: It is very important that we are able to build our own LCD panels so that we can bring a lot of different models to market. We can do variations of colour, design, soundbars, you name it. We have the power to deliver bespoke solutions and produce them at a good price and tailor them to different markets. The TV market today as we see it is based on 8K, on AI, and on increasing size. And we need to be one of the first to bring 75-inch televisions into the mainstream.
Hall 21 Stand 102
Photo: Frédéric Langin, Europe’s General Manager Sales & &Marketing, TCL; Antoine Salomé Marketing Director in Europe, TCL