Com­pa­nies aim to ex­plore lim­its of tech­nol­ogy

China Daily - - CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO - By ZHENG XIN in Shang­hai zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Whirlpool Corp, a US home ap­pli­ance maker, has pledged to bring more of its lat­est high­tech prod­ucts to China to cater to the in­creas­ing mid­dle-in­come group in the coun­try, whose growth is set to be one of the global eco­nomic mega­trends of the com­ing decades.

Given in­creased con­sump­tion and Chi­nese con­sumers’ pur­suit of a high-qual­ity life­style, the ap­pli­ance mar­ket has evolved to a stage where prod­ucts need to be cus­tom­ized and smart, said Sa­muel Wu, pres­i­dent of Whirlpool Asia.

Con­sid­er­ing the fact that China’s home ap­pli­ance mar­ket has been sta­ble for a while and will see more rapid growth in the fu­ture, Whirlpool said it is ded­i­cated to of­fer­ing more prod­ucts of qual­ity and value to con­sumers, in­clud­ing kitchen ap­pli­ances and wash­ing ma­chines.

It has been es­ti­mated that China’s mid­dle-in­come group will in­crease to 630 mil­lion peo­ple by 2022, al­most dou­ble the cur­rent US pop­u­la­tion of 327 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to global man­age­ment con­sul­tants McKin­sey & Co.

Whirlpool has brought to the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo its lat­est prod­uct range, the W Se­ries, which will be launched in the Chi­nese and Euro­pean mar­kets si­mul­ta­ne­ously in 2019.

Wu said China’s house­hold ap­pli­ance mar­ket holds tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ment, and Whirlpool will take ad­van­tage of its global tech­nol­ogy and re­sources to push for con­tin­u­ous growth, with the fo­cus on the high end of the mar­ket.

Ja­son Ai, vice-pres­i­dent of Whirlpool and pres­i­dent of Whirlpool China, said the com­pany con­stantly aims to chal­lenge per­cep­tions and ex­plore the lim­its of tech­nol­ogy to em­power peo­ple by free­ing up their time.

“We be­lieve that see­ing things dif­fer­ently means sens­ing life dif­fer­ently, and we want con­sumers to make the most of their time and en­joy it at its best with our lat­est prod­uct se­ries,” he said.

The US ap­pli­ance-maker says it will also in­vest more in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, af­ter its China head­quar­ters and global R&D cen­ter, lo­cated in East China’s An­hui prov­ince, was put into op­er­a­tion last year.

As the liv­ing stan­dards of Chi­nese res­i­dents have con­stantly risen in re­cent years, the mid­dle-in­come group, to­gether with their ev­er­grow­ing pur­chas­ing ca­pac­ity, has been driv­ing com­pa­nies to up their game in the coun­try.

Many multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions have brought their lat­est prod­ucts to the CIIE to show­case their strength.

‘Stick to in­no­va­tion’

Home ap­pli­ance man­u­fac­turer Bosch dis­played its renowned Ger­man crafts­man­ship at the expo and said it hoped to show­case its in­no­va­tions in the smart home sec­tor to vis­i­tors from all over the world, but in par­tic­u­lar to the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“Bosch has been de­liv­er­ing var­i­ous prod­ucts adapt­ing to the needs of Chi­nese con­sumers,” said Roland Gerke, chair­man and pres­i­dent of BSH Home Ap­pli­ances Hold­ing (China) Co Ltd.

With the rapid de­vel­op­ment of in­tel­li­gent tech­nol­ogy, the smart home has be­come an in­dus­try trend, he said.

“With the trend of con­sump­tion up­grade in China, Bosch, a leader in the high-end sec­tor, will con­tinue to meet con­sumers’ in­creas­ingly di­verse needs in all as­pects with in­no­va­tive prod­ucts and ser­vices,” Gerke added.

Wu said Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s key­note speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the CIIE pro­vided mo­men­tum for the house­hold ap­pli­ance in­dus­try and multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions in China.

CIIE is a good ex­am­ple and a sig­nal that China is more and more open to the world and will­ing to par­tic­i­pate more in global af­fairs, Wu said, adding that eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion is an ir­re­versible trend.

“With­out re­form and open­ing-up all the pros­per­ity to­day is im­pos­si­ble,” he said.

“Xi’s speech shores up con­fi­dence for the house­hold ap­pli­ance in­dus­try and for Whirlpool as well. We will con­tin­u­ously stick to in­no­va­tion and step up in­dus­trial chain lay­out to come up with more prod­ucts, cus­tom­ized and smart, with the fo­cus on qual­ity and value of­fered to the con­sumer.”

at Whirlpool booth.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Vis­i­tors learn about the lat­est fea­tures of smart home ap­pli­ances

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