Thomson announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with representatives of the two leading industry associations in China in the field of licensing for DVD-Video players. The agreement sets the licensing conditions for use of Thomson's patents by Chinese manufacturers of DVD-video players for the Chinese domestic market as well as for export.
Thomson signed the MOU with the China Audio Industry Association (CAIA), which is part of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry, and with the China Chamber of Commerce of Machinery and Electronics for Import and Export (CCCME), part of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Thomson will enter into licensing agreements with all members of the CAIA, on the basis of the MOU, in the coming months.
A founding member of the consortium which developed DVD technology, Thomson is pleased at the prospect of more than 60 Chinese companies joining the list of its DVD licensees. This list already comprises the major manufacturers of DVD-Video players around the world. Chinese companies manufacture more than 50 % of the DVD-Video players found on the world market.
This agreement will further strengthen Thomson's licensing business, which was already a significant contributor to revenues in 2003.
It is also in keeping with Thomson's strategy of developing its activities in China for both the domestic and export markets. Last November, Thomson announced the creation of a joint venture with Hong Kong-based TCL International, which will create the world's largest manufacturer of television sets and related products and services. Also in 2003, Thomson acquired the color picture tube production assets of Fortune in China, doubling its production capacity and making Thomson the second largest manufacturer of large-screen picture tubes in the country.
Finally, Thomson will also announce soon the upcoming establishment of a new research laboratory in China. This new laboratory will come in addition to the current Thomson's research centers and illustrates Thomson's strategy to develop new technologies for the Chinese market.