Skyworth Digital recently reaffirmed its position as one of the world’s leading set-top box (STB) manufacturers with the announcement that it had sold 30 million STBs in 2015, generating revenues of $608m. China, its domestic market, remains at the forefront of core business activities, accounting for half of global STB sales, but the company now owes much of its success to overseas markets, where local manufacturing, acquisitions, and new technologies have enabled it to establish a strong client base.
International expansion fuels Skyworth’s set-top-box growth
According to Skyworth, the company’s STB division has seen consistent growth since 2014. In its 2015 annual report, Skyworth reported an operating income of $632m, up 15.7% from the previous year, while net profit totaled $63m, corresponding to an annual growth rate of 8.9%. Of the $632m generated in revenues, 96% ($608m) came from digital STB sales – a year-on-year increase of 14.8%.
Although unit sales were not disclosed in the report, the company has since revealed that 30 million STBs were sold in 2015, with 50% of sales in overseas markets. Of the 15 million devices sold overseas, around half were sold in India, where Skyworth recently secured an order of 2.3 million DVB-C STBs, valued at $33m. Additionally, 20% were sold in Africa and 15% throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Skyworth’s success comes as a result of the company adopting a local, rather than global, outlook. While remaining headquartered in Shenzhen, China, Skyworth has set up factories in Africa, India, Thailand, Hungary, Brazil, and Mexico to enable it to complete manufacturing locally. Furthermore, in regions where the Skyworth brand is not well known, Skyworth has acquired companies with an established presence such as Strong, which distributes STBs to clients throughout Europe.
The company has also profited from being quick to adopt new technologies. Ovum’s TV Technology Announcements Tracker: 2Q16 noted that in September 2015 Skyworth launched a range of DVB-T2 HECV STBs targeted at the German market. Meanwhile, ISDB-T STBs have been deployed in Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador as they prepare for their ASO.
Skyworth expects growth to continue. Vice general manager Darrell Haber anticipates that between 35 and 40 million STBs will be sold in 2016, of which 12–15 million will be OTT STBs sold in China, up from the 7.5 million sold in 2015. A further 2–5 million STBs are expected to be sold in Africa alongside several million in Mexico, while South-East Asia is predicted to remain constant at 3–4 million units.
The company’s midyear report for 2016 shows that Skyworth is well on track to meeting its targets. STB operating income for the first half of the year totaled $400m, representing a year-on-year increase of 73.3%. Overseas sales revenue amounted to $192m, up 169.6% from the previous year. Ovum’s TV Devices Forecast supports these findings. In 2016, STB sales are expected to increase from 6.9 million to 7.4 million in Africa; from 26.7 million to 28.7 million in India; and from 5.5 million to 5.7 million in Germany. Conversely, the US market, which Skyworth has so far avoided, is forecast to start declining in 2017.
TV Technology Announcements Tracker: 2Q16, TE0004-001102 (August 2016)
TV Devices Forecast: Set-Top Box Sales and Installed Base, 2015–20, TE0004-001066 (February 2016)
Set-top Box Market Update: OTT Drives New Vendor-Operator Partnerships, TE0004-001047 (October 2015)
Holly Reid, Research Analyst, Consumer Technology and TV