China’s no more synonymous with cheap as incomes double
Export of the fancy appliances, including three-door refrigerators, may follow if the products are successful and will mean increased Chinese competition in the expensive end of the appliance world.
Sales for white goods may drop by as much as 10% this year, Capital Securities’ analyst James Hu estimates. The slowdown is boosting competition in China’s $77-billion appliance market as local brands that traditionally made cheaper products use premium lines to bolster profits.
Manufacturers are marketing swankier offerings, including Qingdao Haier’s 13,999 yuan ($2,219) red washing machine, to attract China’s increasingly affluent consumers. That may help them draw local shoppers, and eventually global ones, from overseas competitors such as Philips and Siemens (SIE).
“Some domestic brands have shown strong ability to develop new, better products,” said Chen Jun, a Beijing-based analyst at Boxin Capital. “It’s a perfect time to upgrade, as they’ve made a lot of money from the favourable policies and aren’t worried too much about cash.”
A government programme that gave shoppers as much as 400 yuan to subsidise purchases of new home appliances helped drive sales the past two years. The incentives, part of government moves to boost domestic consumption, ended December 31.
That has made premier products more important for Chinese appliance
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