Taipei, May 5 (CNA) Taiwan's major 3C (computers, communications and consumer electronics) retailers are gearing up to grab a larger market share amid rising public awareness of energy-efficient home appliances ahead of a government plan to raise electricity rates, market sources said Saturday.
In addition to the electricity rate hikes scheduled to begin in June, a recent increase in domestic fuel prices has prompted many consumers to become more cost-conscious, which is expected to boost sales of "green" home appliances, they said.
The sources added that as the Ministry of Economic Affairs is planning to provide a second round of subsidies on energy-efficient home appliance purchases, 3C retailers in Taiwan, including Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co. and E-Life Mall Corp., expect sales of such products to grow.
In fact, the first round of subsidies, launched in the first quarter of this year, greatly benefited the two stores in terms of revenue growth, the sources said.
Tsann Kuen posted NT$10.03 billion (US$341.88 million) in sales forthe first four months of this year, up 5.01 percent from a year earlier,while E-Life Mall recorded a 24.8 percent year-on-year increase in salesfor the first three months of the year to NT$3.82 billion. It did notreport its April sales figures.
E-Life Mall Vice President Hsieh Ming-yu said he looks forward to the additional government subsidies on home appliance purchases, which are expected to further boost buying interest.
According to the ministry, the second round of subsidies are expected to total at least NT$600 million, and every purchase of an energy-efficient home appliance will be eligible for a NT$2,000 subsidy.
Hsieh said sales of air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines are expected to rise further, as many households are eager to cut power consumption and save on their living costs.
Tsann Kuen said sales of air conditioners in its stores during the January-April period rose 25 percent from a year earlier, while sales of variable frequency models, which have become the mainstream of the air conditioner segment, jumped 80 percent year-on-year.
The two retailers also expect their sales to be boosted further by rising demand for digital TVs, as Taiwan will fully replace all analog TV transmissions with digital signals starting from July 1.
E-Life Mall is staging a campaign to promote LED TVs that not only live up to energy conservation standards but also meet the demands of the digital TV era.
(By Lin Ye-fong and Frances Huang)