By Matthew Miller
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's TCL Corp, one of the world's biggest mobile handset and television manufacturers, is seeking to build factories in India and Brazil next year to overcome high import tariffs in these rapidly expanding consumer electronics markets.
"We hope to complete factory construction next year and have a better foundation for growth in the future in these two emerging markets," TCL Corp Chief Executive Li Dongsheng told Reuters in an interview last week.
He declined to say how much the factories would cost.
TCL Corp's revenue increased 18.4 percent to $16.44 billion last year, led by a 60.3 percent sales growth at TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd, the group's handset manufacturer.
TCL Communication, which sells smartphones and wearable computing devices under the Alcatel OneTouch and TCL OneTouch brands, last year ranked as the world's seventh-largest handset provider, according to technology consultant Gartner Inc.
Despite "intense" competition, TCL Communications is targeting 30 percent revenue growth this year, Li said.
TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings, the conglomerate's television unit and China's largest LCD TV maker, also aims to improve profit margins this year, Li said, without giving specific details. The company posted a 15.1 percent drop in revenue to HK$33.53 billion ($4.32 billion) last year.
TCL Corp is investing some 50 billion yuan ($7.99 billion) in LCD screens, and in August, started construction of a 16 billion yuan project that will make high-end small- and medium-size panel displays in 2016.
The move underscores a wider push by the company to transform itself into a manufacturer of connected technologies.
In recent years, TCL has partnered with internet firms, including Tencent Holdings Ltd and video streaming site iQiyi, backed by Baidu Inc, to develop content.
($1 = 6.2610 Chinese yuan renminbi)
($1 = 7.7648 Hong Kong dollars)
(Additional reporting by Paul Carsten and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Biju Dwarakanath)