As the first white goods manufacturer to be an Olympics sponsor, Haier is taking the "green" in the green Beijing Olympics very seriously.
China's largest household appliance maker by sales has equipped more than 60,000 of its products, ranging from air conditioners to washing machines, in 37 Olympic venues in Beijing and Qingdao, Shandong province.
All Haier's products at the Olympic venues employ the latest energy efficiency technology that meets the highest international standards, claims company chairman Zhang Ruimin. These products, he claims, make the best use of renewable energy.
"Some of them are the most competitive products in the global market in the use of leading environmentally friendly technologies, such as our solar powered air conditioners," he says.
To the 59-year-old chairman, the Beijing Olympic Games will help put the leading Chinese brands in the global map. As for Haier, the Olympics will inspire it to speed up the development of energy efficient technologies and move toward a more sustainable development model.
"We have tried to make our best effort by providing the largest number of energy efficient home appliances," Zhang says.
Zhang recalls the challenge his company faced after signing the sponsorship agreement with Beijing Olympic organizing committee on August 12, 2005.
"To serve the world's top level sports event, Haier has to supply the most advanced products that comply with China's policy of saving energy and controlling emissions," he says.
So far, about 2,864 sq m of the Olympic venues, including the Beijing Tennis Court, Qingdao's Olympic Sailing Center and the Olympic athletes' Restaurant, have installed Haier's solar powered air conditioners.
Seawater will replace the hydro fluorocarbons (HFC - which has been proven to be destroying the earth's ozone layer) and act as a natural cooler for the air conditioners' refrigerating works.
"The natural refrigerant will not be harmful to the environment and the solar panel will make it possible for the air conditioners to no longer depend on electricity," says Du Guanglin, director of Haier Air Conditioner Co Ltd.
"Totally, the solar powered air conditioners, installed in Olympic venues, are expected to save 2.42 million kwH of electricity. That is equal to cutting 2,140 tons of CO2 a year indeed," Du adds.
Haier was also lauded by the international environmental organization Greenpeace on its website late last month, in which the appliance company was praised for its HFC-free, solar powered air conditioners.
In addition to its air conditioners, the company's washing machines, silent refrigerators and HFC-free fridges are installed in various Olympic venues, Du tells China Business Weekly during a recent interview in Qingdao where Haier is based.
Zhang says that public awareness of energy conservation and the world's expectation for eco-friendly Beijing Olympic Games have driven Haier to further develop its green technologies.
Haier has already promoted its solar powered air conditioners to the larger domestic consumer market.
"Advanced technologies should benefit all people," the chairman explains. "Supplying technical equipments for the Olympic games is just part of Haier's responsibilities. We have to make advanced technologies to better serve the people."
According to Du, almost 60 percent of Haier's air conditioners in the domestic market are made by the company's advanced energy efficient technology. "We will produce a higher rate of even greener equipment for more consumers," Du adds.
"It is a golden chance to promote Haier's research and development works. And sponsoring the Olympic Games will be helpful for the company to strengthen its brand and gain an upper hand in the in the global market," Zhang notes.
After being an Olympic sponsor for three years, Haier's brand has expanded more quickly overseas. A best way for proving such a conclusion, the company claims, is that increasing numbers of well-known marketing service companies have joined with Haier's sales teams in overseas markets after Haier became an Olympics sponsor.
"Being an Olympics sponsor means that the company should provide high-quality products, sincere service and cosmopolitan flair. That will make more people all over the world confident in Haier," Zhang says.