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Chinese TV maker TCL launches 329 euro smartphone for video lovers

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By Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chinese TV maker TCL Electronics <1070.HK> launched a low-cost smartphone on Thursday in a bet that it can harness its expertise in screens to win over consumers who are increasingly watching video on mobile devices.

The TCLPLEX will be priced at 329 euros (£294), putting it firmly in the affordable bracket, offering a 6.5-inch display that uses the company’s proprietary NXTVISION technology and a triple camera.

TCL expects video to account for 80% of mobile data traffic by 2022, creating an opening to put smartphones at the centre of its existing range of connected devices that includes smart TVs, and bluetooth speakers and headphones.

“The moment is right for TCL,” said the company’s global head of marketing Stefan Streit.

Streit also showed off a test version of a smartphone with a folding screen, signalling TCL’s intent to challenge global leader Samsung Electronics <005930.KS>, whose $2,000 Galaxy Fold goes on sale in Korea on Friday.

The TCL smartphone launch comes in a saturated market that faces headwinds from the U.S.-China trade conflict. Still, analyst Ben Wood at CCS Insight rated the move as “a strong sign of its intention to grab share in the smartphone markets”.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by David Evans)