Samsung has reportedly told the Indian government that it will start manufacturing TVs locally from December 2020. Until then, the company is seeking approval to import TVs to India to ensure business continuity is not impacted, especially during the country’s upcoming festive season.
The South Korean firm used to import display panels to India and assemble TVs at its Chennai plant. However, the Indian government had imposed import duties on open-cell display panels for TVs in 2018, and Samsung had to shut down its Chennai TV plant. The company then started importing TVs from Vietnam through the free trade agreement at zero import duties. In July 2020, India put TVs on the restricted list of imports for the first time in 20 years to encourage local manufacturing.
If any brand wants to import TVs to India, it has to get approval from the government. The Indian government has not issued a permit to import TVs to any brand since July 2020, and Samsung’s TV sets are stuck in customs. In a letter written on September 28 to India’s IT and Electronics minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Samsung Electronics said it is important to maintain current threshold volumes for setting up the domestic TV manufacturing facility. The letter also mentioned that the current import restrictions are against the ethos of doing business.
Samsung said it would restart its Chennai TV plant where the line is already present, but it needs to upgrade the equipment and workforce. The South Korean TV giant will continue to import 75-inch and larger TVs as they make up for a minuscule part of its sales. The company said in its letter that its local TV manufacturing plant would drastically reduce the import dependency in the segment. Samsung has been manufacturing some of its TVs locally in India through a partnership with Dixon Technologies.