Remember when Japanese firms dominated the TV industry?Japan’s once unbeatable consumer electronics industry is going through tough times and South Korea’s Samsung has now built an indominable lead over its Nippon rivals in the TV market.

But for how long? The Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese firms that have long dominated this industry now fear the rise of upstart Chinese manufacturers. Until recently, Chinese brands struggled to get taken seriously in the highly-competitive and technologically advanced LCD flat-panel TV market but that seems to be changing, particularly inside China.

While western consumers may still prefer a Samsung or Sony TV, their Chinese counterparts are more willing to buy from less well-known Chinese manufacturers.

China now accounts for 21 percent of worldwide television shipments and, crucially, it is the only significant market to show strong growth, according to research firm Displaysearch. Shipments of TVs in China increasing 19% year-on-year in Q4 2011.

The strong growth has fed through to the top line sales of local players such as TCL Multimedia, which reported a 50% jump in TV sales in March.

Before finding success in China’s booming domestic TV market, TCL once tried to become a contender in Europe’s TV market through a deal with France’s Thomson. But the short-lived marriage ended in factory closures — see this EngagingChina story.

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