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Smart mug maker Ember targets tech-savvy market

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-30 11:05
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Ember is planning to enter China with its flagship smart temperature-controlled ceramic mug. [Photo/]

United States-based Ember is planning to enter China with its flagship smart temperature-controlled ceramic mug, eyeing opportunities in the country's red hot tech market.

"The tea market is massive here and the coffee market is on the rise. Fueled by Chinese tech-savvy consumers' growing enthusiasm, China is expected to overtake the US to become our largest market in the future," said Clay Alexander, Ember's founder and CEO.

By synchronizing with a smartphone app, the ceramic mug can keep coffee or tea at an exact temperature according to the user's preference.

The company said it will open a flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's business-to-consumer shopping site, on Sept 9 this year. Chinese consumers will also be able to purchase the ceramic mugs via Ember's official website.

To better tap into the local market, Ember has set up two offices - in Zhuhai, Guangdong province and Hong Kong. The company also owns a manufacturing facility in Zhuhai.

Deborah Lehr, CEO and founding partner of US-based strategic business consulting firm Basilinna, said that as companies expand globally, they also need to be more aware of the cultural challenges ahead.

"Noticing China is a tea-centric market, we plan to build partnerships with high-end tea companies and tea shops. And we also have the tea timer in the app," Alexander said.

According to him, this year will be a key pivot point for Ember's global expansion, as the firm will launch the mugs in Apple Inc's retail stores globally in the fall, including in China, the United States and Europe.

As a design-led brand, Ember only picks retailers it can share a brand halo effect with, like high-quality brands such as Apple, he said.

"We will always stay focused on offering better drinking and eating experiences to enhance individuals' lives," Alexander said.

Founded in 2010, the California-based firm now has two smart mugs products - a travel mug and a ceramic mug.

Currently, Ember's smart products are available in around 4,600 Starbuck stores in North America. And the products are for sale at a wide range of platforms, including Best Buy and Amazon for US consumers.

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