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Haier adapts to ‘new normal’ with smarter home appliances

Jul 17. 2020
Zhang Zhenghui, president of Haier Electrical Appliances (Thailand)
Zhang Zhenghui, president of Haier Electrical Appliances (Thailand)
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By The Nation

Home-appliances brand Haier said it has met 31 per cent of its sales growth target in the first half of this year, and is expanding its presence in the smart-home appliances market with several products, including air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines. It is also launching a smart-sharing AC campaign to meet demands amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Haier is now aiming for a 34 per cent growth in the latter half of the year, with sales worth about Bt2.63 billion.

The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically changed consumer behaviour, with buyers now expecting a lot more and thinking twice about price and quality before making a purchase. This challenge has driven Haier to adjust to the situation and get ready for the unexpected, which has resulted in a proactive business approach to suit the new normal.

At a press conference on Friday (July 17), Zhang Zhenghui, president of Haier Electrical Appliances (Thailand), said: “Haier expects continuous success this year, with an estimated total sales revenue of Bt6.205 billion, up 38 per cent from last year. This total revenue comprises Bt2.94 billion from home air-conditioners, up 21 per cent from last year; Bt1.16 billion from refrigerators, up 45 per cent; Bt835 million from washing machines, up 37 per cent; Bt590 million from freezers, up 41 per cent; Bt365 million from commercial air-conditioners, up 45 per cent; and Bt322 million from other products, up 65 per cent. We will further extend our market share actively in the latter half of this year to achieve our annual sales target.”

In its marketing strategy for the second half of this year, Haier will introduce new products that have strength in quality, design, innovation and unique functionality to meet diverse needs. It also provides cutting-edge products as part of its Haier Smart Home Range. With Bt170 million earmarked for boosting brand awareness and sales through both online and off-line channels as well as increasing marketing channels, penetrating the B2B segment, revamping distributors’ shops, and improving pre- and post-sales services.

“Despite the coronavirus’s impact on consumers’ purchasing power, Haier still enjoys continued sales growth, especially for air-conditioners and refrigerators. I think it is highly possible that we can reach the annual sales growth of 38 per cent with a revenue of Bt6.205 billion this year,” Zhang said.

In the air-conditioning category, Haier introduced a Smart-Sharing AC campaign, in which consumers pay for actual power used at the rate of Bt4 per hour, which can be paid via a smartphone app. These aircons are installed for free and come with free post-sales service. Each aircon is installed on a three-year or 5,200 hours contract.

This campaign uses Advanced Info Service (AIS)’s NB-IoT technology which automatically connects the air-conditioners to the NB-IoT network nationwide without the need for Wi-Fi connection or SIM cards, and usage data is recorded and sent to the Smart Sharing AC mobile app, allowing users to control and check on their air-conditioners from anywhere. The app also allows them to change the aircon’s settings, turn it on and off, change the wind direction and temperature as well as schedule servicing.

Haier air-conditioners have a built-in self-cleaning technology, which allows them to clean every 20 minutes, while its self-purifying technology filters out 99.99 per cent of dust particles that are even smaller than PM2.5 particles.

Haier has stepped up the development of its “self-hygiene” technology, using silver nano-particle coating to keep air-conditioners free of bacteria and fungi, as well as the hyper PCB electronic board to protect against unstable voltage, humidity and certain insects, making the air-conditioners more durable and energy-saving.

The company has also come up with the HRF-MD758 smart refrigerator in its IOT Smart Series, featuring a large touchscreen interface, voice-controlled virtual assistant and a Food Manage function that keeps track of what is in the fridge. The refrigerator’s “ultra cam” shows what’s in stock, so users can order groceries online or thanks to the internet of things (IoT) technology, find recipes that use what’s available.

There is also the Ice Bar LC-132 or living room refrigerator, with a top shelf that is specially designed to store wine, along with other shelves with adjustable temperature levels to store different things, ranging from breast milk to tea leaves and beverages.

Haier has also introduced a self-cleaning top-loading washing machine equipped with a smart ball technology, which removes 99.9 per cent of dirt and impurities in every wash, has a direct-motion motor delivering quiet, smooth, energy-saving operation and a control panel at the back.

This washing machine, which comes in 13-kilogram and 14kg capacity, was launched this month.

Another new product from Haier is its Android Smart AI TV, which can be connected to security devices like a CCTV, as well as the doorbell. It can also be used to turn the lights in the house on and off.

“For the rest of this year, Haier will focus on an integrated marketing approach covering both online and off-line markets. This includes launching more TV commercials for our refrigerators, boosting brand awareness with our brand ambassador, enhancing positive brand image through Haier Brand shops in Bangkok and Khon Kaen, expanding sales channels and B2B opportunities, renovating our distribution outlets and seek new marketing opportunities to keep the business growing,” Zhang said.

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