VIZIO Looks Beyond TVs
By: Russell Flannery
December 24, 2009

Taipei -- Vizio, one of the biggest flat-panel TV suppliers in the U.S., is looking to move beyond its niche, and will unveil prototypes of new consumer electronics items at a big trade show in Las Vegas next month, the CEO told Forbes in an interview.

"Eventually, we'll get into different consumer electronics categories, not just TV," said William Wang. He predicted shipments of Vizio televisions next year would increase by a third, and expressed optimism about the U.S. economy, something that should be welcome news to its retailing partners including Wal-Mart ( WMT  -  news  -  people  ) (WMT:NYSE) and Target ( TGT -  news  -  people ) (TGT:NYSE) Interview excepts follow:

FORBES: It's been a great year for Vizio.

WANG: We went from 3.5 million pieces last year to 6 million this year. We did $2 billion (in revenue) last year. We'll do $2.5 billion this year. I guess the TV is still popular. I don't want to say it's recession-proof, but we did pretty well. The only thing is that average selling prices fell 30-35%. That's pretty steep. But people expect to pay less: that's electronics.

Q. What's behind Vizio's growth?

A. There are three reasons. First, we're a small company and don't have any legacy (assets). We have low overhead. Second, our execution is better than others. We're really fast. We're focused on value, and value products worked very well this year. Third, we have a 21st century business model. We leverage existing business structures and EMS (electronic manufacturing service companies), versus being vertically integrated and manufacturing ourselves. If you look at some of our Japanese competitors, they're very integrated, and unfortunately in this age, that's become a burden. It's similar to GM and Ford. At the same time, you have a lot IC companies and LCD manufacturers focused on one category and trying to be the best, and we focus our business model with these companies in mind. So we have no redundancy, versus people Sony ( SNE -  news -  people  ) (SNE:NYSE) or Sharp or Hitachi ( HIT -  news  -  people ) (HIT:NYSE). They can't make up their mind they will do it themselves or outsource.

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