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E-Mart launches ultra-cheap LED TV

Retail giant threatens Samsung and LG with half-priced sets


E-Mart will launch an ultra-cheap TV set on Thursday in a bold move to enter the electronics market that has long been dominated by Samsung and LG.

E-Mart said its Dream View is a 32-inch full HD LED TV priced at 499,000 won ($443), up to 42 percent cheaper than those with similar specifications produced by local electronics giants.

Even when compared to Chinese brands, the price is about 28 percent cheaper, the company said.

“We have reduced retail process dramatically by using our distribution channels,” said Kim Hak-jo, an E-Mart official.

The E-Mart TV is produced by Taiwan-based TPV through original equipment manufacturing contracts. TPV is the world’s largest LCD maker in terms of production output that also produces TVs for LG Electronics and Philips.

“Our product is totally different from those selling large quantities of products for a low margin,” he said.

It is not the first time that local retail giants have introduced electronic items such as TVs, laptops and desktop monitors. Despite moderate sales, their poor after-sales services have failed to maintain consumers’ attention.

E-Mart, which is the nation’s No. 1 supermarket chain, has signed a deal with TG Sambo to offer consumers after-sales services at 100 repair centers nationwide of the local electronics maker. 
E-Mart’s private brand TV “Dream View.” (E-Mart)
E-Mart’s private brand TV “Dream View.” (E-Mart)

The company expects the demands for 32-inch LED TV will surge in the coming months, with the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting being completed at the end of 2012.

E-Mart will sell 5,000 TVs in the first sales batch and increase production including larger-screen models and 3D TV from as early as next year.

On Tuesday, most consumers reacted positively to the cheaper E-Mart TV.

“Considering their similar specifications and after-sales services, this is literally a revolution,” an online user wrote in an Internet bulletin board.

“Samsung and LG sell 32-inch LED TV priced at 800,000 won. There is almost a 300,000 won price bubble,” said another writer.

Some people, however, expressed doubts, saying “Samsung brand name is not just about price.”

Industry watchers predicted that E-Mart TV could ignite the competition between retailers and manufacturers and make it fiercer.

They said retail giants would introduce more private-brand products ranging from the current food items and daily necessities to expensive products such as home appliances.

(jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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