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LCD boom is here!

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DQC News Bureau
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An LCD boom is staring us in the eye. The market is growing in breadth as well as depth. The latest entrant in the India market

Kores' Kino TFTs sold 45 units within 20 days of the launch. The product, distributed by AarVee in West India is currently available in 17” only. “By June 20, Kores will bring in 14”, 15” and 19” as well,” informed Vinod

Mulchandani, CEO of Mumbai-based AarVee Computers. 

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Graphic and line intensive applications are driving the 17” market, said Ankan

Biswas, GM, Multimedia Display & Digital Network, Consumer Electronics at Philips India. He mentions that even though the absolute numbers in the 17” category are small the category is growing at least 300% year-on-year. Ankan admits that at times he himself is surprised at the market response. In April this year, Philips sold 3,000 TFT monitors while the company sold the same number in the JFM quarter of this year. 

More and more channel partners are getting into the segment. Reason: This is the simplest of all IT products and margins are assured, as of now. The insight came from Anish

Kurup. He is the Product Manager for the Umax range at Neoteric Informatique. “Given that panel manufacturers are so few, you cannot go very wrong with the quality,” elaborated

Anish. Since panel is the only critical component that goes into the monitor, anybody who can source and put it all together can get on to the bandwagon and launch a brand. However, building a brand and making inroads into the market is a different story. 

Pitted against brands like Samsung, LG, Acer and BenQ, Umax is finding the 'battle to market share' tough. The increase in the number of players in the space makes staying competitive tough, even though the market is growing at what is being termed an explosive growth rate. 

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According to IDC, 2.42 lakh units of LCD monitors were shipped in 2004. “This is more than 100% growth over 2003,” said Sanjit

Sinha, Senior Manager, Hardware Research at IDC, India. While IDC estimates that the number of units shipped is likely to touch 17 lakh by 2009, given the dynamic market, the real figure could well surpass the estimates. 

According to VR Kirubakaran, National Manager-Display Products at HCL Peripherals, LCD industry is growing at more than 200%.

STPIs, call centers, BPOs, SOHO segment are all opting for the LCD monitors over CRT. “In another three-four years the LCD monitors will dominate the market,” he said. 

However, building brand value remains the key. Recently, D-Link announced its decision to phase out its Digiview brand. The company is bringing Gigabyte brand LCD monitors along with other Gigabyte products to India. “This would help the company garner market share faster as Gigabyte commands greater brand equity. Gigabyte commands greater brand equity,” stated Rajan Sharma, Product Manager at Gigabyte India. 

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Rajan forecasts a sale of 3,000 Gigabyte monitors in the next quarter. However, the company is still fine-tuning the business dynamics. Given the competition in the market not only the pricing has to be competitive but also the product should have a wide range and value adds on offer. 

“It is not the price differential of a few hundred rupees that determines consumer choice but brand value, design and aesthetics,” said Ashish

Bakshi, Country Head, India Operations, BenQ. The company has won accolades for its model FP 783 which has inbuilt speakers and web cameras. 

As brand value becomes an important determinant in the purchase decision the vendors are competing on giving value to the customer. Kensington security, wall mounting feature, multi-language support, operation at wide temperature ranges, picture rotational control, low radiation, lower response time, additional option for speakers all make it to the rank of value adds. “BenQ has integrated a touch screen panel in all its LC monitors. This has been done particularly in view of its usage in service Industry,” added Ish

Bawa, Marketing Head, BenQ. 

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Finding a niche in this constantly evolving market is tough but at the same time it is important for players to find their niche or they will find market consolidation a difficult phase. LG IT Products Head, R

Manikandan, talking about the USP of LG monitors, lists out the company's 17" model 1730S, which boasts of the f-Engine technology. “This is the only LCD monitor in the world to have f engine tech, he said adding that the response time of some of LG LCD monitors is 12ms and some have even 8ms. 

With so many players, it is all about product positioning now. Umax is trying to push its 14-inch monitors in 15” space with a price advantage proposition. The premium brand Sony has introduced a 15-inch model in April after much deliberation. “It was done to complete the range Sony is offering,” said Sachin

Thapar, Head, IT Products at Sony India. 

There is no doubt that 15” continues to rule the market. According to IDC, 15” constitutes a little over 75% of the total LCD market. The major driver for the segment 'CRT to LCD shift' has been the price drops that has happened in the last six months making available sub 10K LCD monitors in the 15% category and sub 15k in the 17% category. 

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FACTS AND FIGURES
· HCL Peripherals

shipped 5,000 monitors in the JFM quarter of 2005. The company has 17 RDs and a network of 600 dealers promoting its brand of TFT monitors 



  Philips has sold 3,000 in the JFM quarter of 2005 and another 3,000 units in April alone 


· Another premium category player, Delhi-headquartered NEC has sold 990 monitors, of which 365 were 19” 


· Sony has recently introduced a model in the 15” category and the company's TFTs are generally out-of-stock, usually sold out before the consignment reaches the market 


· Mumbai-based Aditya Bhuvania of Priya is the distributor for Viewsonic as well as Philips LCD monitors, sells close to 1,000 LCD monitors a month 


· D-Link is all set to bring Gigabyte LCD monitors to India. Rajan Sharma, Product Manger at Gigabyte India forecasts a sale of 3,000 Gigabyte monitors in this quarter. 



1. Units shipped in

JFM, 2005
LG: 20,000 



Samsung:
18,000 



BenQ:
7,000 



HCL:
5,000 



Philips:
3,000 



Pureview:
1,354 



NEC: 990 
2. Where is it going? 
a) Premium Office PC: Call Centers/ Software Development Companies/ CEO's & Top Management's Desk



b) Customer Interface Desk: Retail/ Telecom/ Petroleum/ Hospitality


c) Special applications — 19” and above: Designers/ Engineers (CAD/CAM)/ Industrial Process Automation applications


d) Plasma Monitors: Defense department, conference rooms, hospitality, retail outlets, public information (Airports and other places)

In an effort to boost sales early this month Samsung dropped its LCD monitor prices by 10 percent. While the competition between the frontrunners LG and Samsung picks up steam, vendors refuse to speculate on the extent of further price drops expected this year. However, the channel market — which is currently enjoying what is being termed a “decent margin” in the segment — is expecting a drop and a consequent boost in volumes. 

NANDITA SINGH 



NEW DELHI

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