Hisense wants to be a house­hold name

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By EDDY LOK and LI NA in Toronto

Chi­nese smart TV and home ap­pli­ance maker Hisense has been grad­u­ally find­ing a mar­ket niche and mak­ing a house­hold name for it­self in Canada.

Like many of its fel­low global Chi­nese com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness in North Amer­ica, Hisense Canada, an On­tario-based sub­sidiary of Hisense In­ter­na­tional, which is head­quar­tered in Qing­dao, China, sees op­por­tu­ni­ties and high prospects in a mar­ket for­merly un­fa­mil­iar with its brand.

Within a year of es­tab­lish­ing a pres­ence in Canada, Hisense has part­nered with sev­eral re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture chains Leons, The Brick and EasyHome, and re­gional elec­tron­ics spe­cial­ity re­tail­ers Vi­sions, 2001 Au­dio Video and Cen­tre Hi Fi.

All of th­ese stores have sales peo­ple on the floor who help tell the story of Hisense, whose strengths in­clude tech­nol­ogy, de­sign and qual­ity com­pa­ra­ble to com­peti­tors, ac­cord­ing to Hisense Canada Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Jane Lu.

Hisense Canada’s flag­ship prod­uct — the smart TV — can be found in some 900 re­tail stores across the coun­try, po­si­tioned along­side more es­tab­lished brand names.

Lu said Hisense Canada’s strat­egy is to grad­u­ally in­tro­duce a full range of elec­tron­ics and ap­pli­ances into the mar­ket — tele­vi­sions, re­frig­er­a­tors, air- con­di­tion­ers, de­hu­mid­i­fiers, bev­er­age cool­ers and freez­ers.

“We are see­ing the same trend in Canada that we saw in the US. We are gain­ing more brand aware­ness, more mar­ket share and more of a wel­com­ing from con­sumers and re­tail­ers,” said Lu.

Call­ing this year Hisense Canada’s ini­tial stage, Lu pre­dicts a sig­nif­i­cant prod­uct pen­e­tra­tion of the Cana­dian mar­ket by 2016 putting its brand among the top five.

“Our price is good and but we’re not just com­pet­ing on price,” she said. “The busi­ness is based on lots of things — right tim­ing, right busi­ness part­ners, right strat­egy, right prod­uct, right mar­ket­ing, right team.”

On the prod­ucts side, many Hisense prod­ucts are man­u­fac­tured in China, and they of­fer com­pa­ra­ble qual­ity and de­signs. Cana­dian re­tail­ers wel­come new brands that re­sult in higher profit mar­gins and lo­cal con­sumers like Hisense’s high qual­ity and af­ford­able prices, ac­cord­ing to Lu.

Hisense has sev­eral re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­tres not only in China, but in the US and Canada as well, and th­ese cen­tres have the po­ten­tial to bring in­no­va­tive new tech­nol­ogy to Hisense prod­ucts, she said.

“On the is­sue of qual­ity, we have al­ready done OEM (orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing) busi­ness for other brands. We have al­ready gath­ered much ex­pe­ri­ence in qual­ity con­trol,” she said.

Even though Canada is a small mar­ket, Lu ex­plained, it gets a lot of at­ten­tion be­cause of its sta­bil­ity and a con­sump­tion en­vi­ron­ment that is con­ducive to brand po­si­tion­ing.

Hisense Canada also fo­cuses on prompt lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to its re­tail­ers. “We have in­ven­tory here and when cus­tomers want to or­der, we ship, there’s no need to wait two months to get the prod­uct,” she said.

The com­pany also tracks con­sumer in­ter­est. “We mon­i­tor sales through num­bers, not just how many we sell to re­tail­ers, but we want to know how many have been sold to con­sumers and af­ter look­ing at num­bers, we can de­cide if sales are good,” she said. “We also mon­i­tor ser­vice data closely. Com­plaints or re­turns from con­sumers are rare. That means our prod­uct qual­ity is fine.”

Lu said there is a good op­por­tu­nity to carve out an even big­ger mar­ket share. With prod­ucts ex­ported to more than 130 coun­tries and re­gions, Hisense’s global per­for­mance last year hov­ered around US $12.8 bil­lion from TV and home ap­pli­ances.

With 70,000 em­ploy­ees world­wide, Hisense has pro­duc­tion bases in South Africa, Al­ge­ria and Egypt and sales of­fices in the US, Canada, Europe, Aus­tralia, the Mid­dle East and South­east Asia. Hisense prod­ucts are ex­ported to more than 130 coun­tries and re­gions.

“We want to be a brand name, not just man­u­fac­turer,” Lu said.

One of the com­pany’s new­est mod­els is the 58-inch 4K Ul­tra HD Smart TV priced at $2,699 and dis­played along­side well-es­tab­lished brands such as Sony and Sam­sung.

Hisense will un­veil its most rev­o­lu­tion­ary smart TV model at the up­com­ing In­ter­na­tional Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas in early Jan­uary. Con­tact writer at re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

LI NA / CHINA DAILY

Jane Lu shows Hisense’s new­est mod­els 58-inch 4K Ul­tra HD Smart TV at 2001 Au­dio Video in Toronto.

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