Fresh thinking and products are driving the global ambitions of the Chinese consumer electronics giant

Tomson Li, TCL group chairman and CEO, sets out his vision for growing the already impressive brand around the world. We started by asking him about TCL’s involvement with IFA:


IFA is recognised as an indicator of global technical consumer goods, and provides TCL a platform to showcase a full array of its electronics, household appliances, communications, and the latest results of its scientific research. TCL has participated in IFA for eight years, impressing consumers with its strong smart R&D capabilities and high product quality.

What are the main features on your stand at IFA this year?

At IFA 2018, TCL has created an array of smart appliances and consumer electronics that is of unprecedented scale. The 1838 square-metre exhibition space is designed to show consumers what a home of the future will look like. A newly launched TV that combines technology with art catches countless consumers’ eyes and the smarthome scenes, which are based on the needs of various users, bring an all-new, revolutionary experience beyond imagination. In addition, TCL unveils new air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and communications equipped with innovative smart technology.

What lies behind TCL’s technological innovations?

The smart products and innovation results presented at this year’s IFA fair originate from TCL’s long-standing R&D strategy, and forwardthinking technology layout. TCL employs nearly 8000 technical researchers and operates 26 R&D centers, over 10 joint labs, and 22 manufacturing and processing bases around the world. In 2017, TCL invested €595m in R&D. As of the end of 2017, TCL applied for a total of 46,976 patents, 31,012 of which are in China, 7,337 of which are in the US, and, 8,627 of which are PCT patents.


Can you give an idea of the scope of TCL’s drive for new products and ways of doing things?

Leading technology and products enable TCL to compete with top global brands. Regarding the promising technology, TCL has been actively engaged in the fields of AI, internet applications, technology and materials of semi-conductor display, smart manufacturing, industrial internet, and other industrial technological capabilities. TCL has currently built highly competitive and innovative subordinate bodies in the display field, which include China Star Optoelectronics Technology (semi-conductor display industry manufacturing), CJOL (public R&D platform for display printing technology), China Ray (AM-OLED display materials), TCL Industrial Research Institute Optoelectronics Lab (quantum dot materials and processing methods). Moreover, TCL purchased shares of US firm KATEEVA (display printing plant) and other projects in the display industry chain.

How are you joining forces with other players on AI?

In-depth partnerships with leading global enterprises such as Google, Amazon, IBM, Baidu, and Tencent are established to create an open AI platform and to apply the latest technologies into products, providing consumers with a better AI experience.

How is TCL’s global strategy for raising brand awareness and market share developing?

As a pioneer of exploring the globalisation strategy, TCL has fully developed a globalised layout for its brands, products, selling channels, and marketing. Besides product localisation, TCL acquires the recognition of customers from a wide range of countries and regions by adopting several marketing methods which include enlisting top football superstar Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior as its brand ambassador, sponsoring the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup, and naming Hollywood Chinese Theatre after TCL. In the future, TCL will continue to pursue its strategy of globalisation, and further improve its global management and operations system with the aim of growing into a competitive global brand, refreshing the image of Chinese brands, and winning the respect and admiration of consumers not only in China but also around the world.

>> Hall 21 Stand 102

Photo: Tomson Li – Chairman & CEO, TCL Group