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Hisense aims to cash in on 2018 Fifa sponsorship deal

Chinese company sees 50% growth in UAE revenues this year.

Hisense, the consumer electronics group from China, aims to cash in on sponsoring the 2018 Fifa Football World Cup to be held in Russia and translate the deal into higher revenues and improve brand image.

Hisense is also the second major Chinese sponsor to sign up to the World Cup after Wanda, a real estate company, in 2016 for covering the next four World Cups.

Hursh Agrawal, chief operating officer at Hisense Middle East, told Gulf News that Hisense is the only company from China which is focused on brand building.

“We have been manufacturing products for other brands and we are the largest exporter of TVs from China. It is a great milestone and the sponsorship deal will help us improve our average selling price. The focus for the last 10 years has been to build the brand,” he said.

The company added that sales in certain European countries had increased by more than 450 per cent after sponsoring the 2016 European football Championships despite weak economic growth.

“Our sales in the region also benefited from the sponsorship deal in 2016 and we are sure that Fifa sponsorship will also help us improve our sales further,” he said.

He said that Hisense had gained “a lot of experience” from previous sports sponsorships such as the Australian Open tennis championships and Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team.

The company sells TVs, home appliances [A/Cs, washing machines and refrigerators] and mobile phones in the region.

Despite a decline in Mena’s TV sector, Agrawal said that sales of its TVs in the UAE doubled last year and expects 50 per cent sales growth this year.

Last year, Hisense had 6.1 per cent market share in TV segment globally after Samsung and LG, according to research firm IHS Markit.

In the 4K TV segment in the UAE, Hisense is also ranked third after Samsung and LG.

To be an important player in the TV segment, Hisense has teamed up with Samsung and TCL to form a new “QLED alliance” in TV segment in a bid to bring the QLED trademark to other TVs and take the fight to OLED (organic light-emitting diode) sets.

QLED is a variation on the quantum-dot TV technology from Samsung and it claims to combine the best of quantum dot and OLED technology.

Agrawal said that Quantum dot technology will be the major trend in the TV industry due to the superior brightness and colour gamut of quantum dots.

Market research firm DisplaySearch has estimated that global sales of Quantum dot TVs will exceed 18 million units in 2018.

Agrawal said that Quantum dots have the best lighting material but Hisense also has its own ULED or ultra LED TV technology.

“Hisense uses a collection of 17 different patents around four key areas — Ultra Wide Colour Gamut, Ultra Local Dimming, Ultra 4K Resolution and Ultra Smooth Motion Rate. As the name suggests, this is an LED TV technology, but those propriety patents all work to enhance the viewing experience at home,” he said.

OLED achieves blacks by simply turning off pixels but he said that ULED uses next-generation technique called local dimming instead. The panel is divided into many different zones, each of which can be dimmed and brightened independently of the others. This allows for a very good contrast range as well as great detail when it comes to shadows.

In the region, the company did sales of about $400 million last year. In 2016, the company grew 25 per cent and expects 20 per cent this year. In UAE, the company expects to grow 50 per cent in revenues.

Agrawal said that the company is planning to expand into new markets such as Iraq, Jordan and Morocco this year and also has plans to set up an assembling plant in Jordan or Egypt.

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