Chinese TV exporter reports huge loss

China’s biggest television exporter announced major losses last week stemming in part from declining sales in the United States and an unfolding financial scandal involving its biggest American customer.

The exporter, Sichuan Changhong Electric, said its first loss is up to nearly a half-billion dollars because of unpaid accounts with Apex Digital, a company in Ontario, CA.

Liu Haizhong, a Changhong spokesman, said Apex Digital owed the company $468 million. The spokesman did not specify what period the amount covered.

Changhong estimated that it might be able to recover $150 million and said that it was making provisions to take losses on $310 million. It also said that Apex had suffered large losses to royalty payments, United States anti-dumping measures and adverse business factors.

Apex Digital has been a big seller of lower-price televisions, DVD players and other home entertainment products at discount retailers like Wal-Mart.

Problems with its largest customer would be the latest blow for Changhong, which has seen its sales in the United States decline. Earlier this year, the Commerce Department imposed 25 percent tariffs on televisions exported to the United States by Changhong and other Chinese makers after it decided they were dumping sets by selling them below a reasonable market price. Apex has also been accused of ignoring royalty payments for patented DVD technology.

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