Founded in the early 80s in China’s Shandong province, Haier is a multinational consumer electronics and home appliance company. In its early development, Qingdao Refrigerator Co., as Haier was called then, focused on basic and affordable household appliances. The products with the iconic logo displaying two children became an integral part of many households across China. Ultimately, Haier became one of the world’s leading household appliance brands with an increasing ambition to develop beyond the low-price segment and instead with more focus on innovation and high-tech.
Adapt and evolve
As part of the company’s recent development strategy, Haier and its entities have undergone a restructuring along with buying up other international companies. First, the company changed the name of its mainland Chinese entity from Qingdao Haier to Haier Smart Home. Second, Haier Electronics, which was listed on the Hong Kong Exchange, was formally incorporated into the mainland Chinese holding in late 2020 and its shares were converted into H-shares. The shares retained the ability to be traded in Hong Kong through China’s Stock Connect. In addition to restructuring the corporation, Haier also acquired companies. For instance, in 2016 the enterprise bought the American home appliance manufacturer subsidiary of General Electric called General Electric Appliances for 5.6 billion U.S. dollars.
However, Haier does not only rely on acquiring foreign companies and technology but also places a large emphasis on the development of in-house know-how. Therefore, the group maintains 14 R&D centers worldwide and invested almost seven billion yuan in the development of new technology and products. The efforts have appeared to pay off as Haier had the highest number of smart home patent applications in China.
China’s electronics and appliance industry is heavily focused on smart technology. In China, the market size of the smart home sector exceeded 170 billion yuan in 2020. All major companies in the industry develop smart products and build their software infrastructure, which connects all smart devices and gives the user a central control hub. According to forecasts, various industry segments such as the smart home appliance segment are going to grow significantly in the coming years.
Smart technology is received with open arms by Chinese consumers. Especially, consumers from higher-tier cities use smart home products and men display a slightly higher interest in smart technology than their female counterparts. From the various product categories, smart TVs and vacuum robots appear to pique the most interest among consumers in China. After all, smart-tech products will be the future in the Chinese electronics and the household appliance industry, and as Chinese tech companies continue to develop their technology will be increasingly available around the world.
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