Kommersant: Russian daily Kommersant reports that at the beginning of July this year, Samsung will begin to manufacture plasma televisions at the Telebalt factory in Kaliningrad, and LG Electronics is expected to launch a similar project in August at the region’s Rolsen plant.
According to the report, Samsung intends to begin to produce “several thousand televisions” per month at the Telebalt factory, which has the capacity to produce around 5 million televisions annually. Meanwhile, a source at the Rolsen plant, which has an annual production capacity of 3 million units, confirmed that the plant will begin to produce plasma televisions for LG Electronics in August.
According to ITResearch, the volume of the Russian market for plasma televisions has reached 240,000 units annually, a trade that is worth around $670 million.
Data from GFK-Russia shows that in 2006 the market grew by 24.2% financially and 66.5% physically. The three market leaders are Panasonic, Philips, and Samsung (ordered alphabetically).
Experts in the Russian market expect the share of sales of plasma televisions (14.3% of total television sales last year) to increase by up to 5% by the end of this year as the beginning of production in Kaliningrad drives prices down by 10-20%.
Manufacturers in Kaliningrad, which is a special Russian economic zone, do not pay customs tariffs on imported components for the assembly of plasma televisions (10%) or VAT (18%). Whether this really will make plasma televisions from Kaliningrad much more affordable than models from Southeast Asia remains to be seen.