Wistron to make smart TVs for Xiaomi

Bloomberg

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 13

Xiaomi Corp (小米), the smartphone maker that outsells Apple Inc iPhones in China, on Monday said its new Internet-ready televisions will be built by Taiwan’s Wistron Corp (緯創) to take advantage of its skill as a supplier to Sony Corp.

“Wistron builds Sony TVs so they have ample experience building high-end TVs,” Xiaomi president Bin Lin (林斌) said in an interview on Friday at the company’s headquarters in Beijing.

Lin declined to provide financial details or production volume for the devices.

After building market share by selling mobile phones priced at about a third of the iPhone 5 in China, Xiaomi is entering another market where Apple has said it is seeking to develop products. Xiaomi will start selling TVs next month that connect to the Web and run Google Inc’s Android operating system. The 47-inch TV will cost 2,999 yuan (US$490), the company said.

The TVs will be assembled with panels supplied by LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co, Xiaomi chief executive officer Lei Jun (雷軍) said on Thursday.

The Xiaomi order is welcome news for Wistron, which is struggling with a reduction in orders from Sony, its largest customer, Vincent Chen (陳豊丰), an analyst at Yuanta Securities Co (元大證券), said in a phone interview on Monday.

Wistron this year will ship about 3.2 million TVs, or less than 20 percent of its capacity of about 18 million units, Chen said.

“Wistron’s capacity is extremely empty, so they need a lot of orders to fill it up,” Chen said. “Xiaomi probably will help a little bit.”