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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Plant Tries Hand at TV Sets

The factory that assembles Hummers and BMWs in Russia is moving to diversify -- by making Chinese television sets.

Kaliningrad-based Avtotor is in talks with China's largest television manufacturer, TCL, to produce up to 330,000 sets per year, the car assembly firm said Thursday.

Avtotor hopes to take advantage of Kaliningrad's status as an import tariff-free zone to win the Chinese firm's entire Russia business, which since TCL's entry into Russia in 2004 has been shared by several plants.

"This is our first project to produce consumer goods," Avtotor spokesman Vladimir Foshenko said, adding that the firm had produced a trial batch of several hundred sets so far and that it had plans to assemble other consumer goods, including washing machines, refrigerators and notebook computers, possibly produced by Chinese companies.

Earlier this year, Avtotor said it had started work on a $200 million car factory, where a possible tenant could be China's Chery.

Yang Jingmin, a spokeswoman for TCL in Moscow, confirmed the Chinese television maker had started working with Avtotor, but said it had yet to decide whether to assemble all of its sets there.

TCL hopes this year to sell 300,000 sets in the country, Yang said, up from 200,000 sets in 2005 and 60,000 in 2004.

TCL and Avtotor declined to say how much the deal would be worth.