Companies

Swiss firm to set up production in Jiangsu

By Bao Chang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-17 10:09
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Swiss firm to set up production in Jiangsu

A salesman introduces kitchen products to a consumer at a home improvement store in Beijing. With a wide variety of options, consumers are cautious about buying kitchen furniture. [Yang Duoduo / for China Daily]

BEIJING - Switzerland-based building supply manufacturer, AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG, will open production facilities in Changshu, Jiangsu province, later this month.

Establishment of the new production plant aims to expand business development in the region, after the company set up its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Shanghai early last year.

"The Asia-Pacific region remains particularly important to AFG, because half of the world population lives in the region, which is marked by a low median age and great demand to cover their basic needs and living conditions," Edgar Oehler, chief executive officer and chairman of the AFG Group, said.

The new production base, set to open on June 23, will deliver products to the print, food and textile industries in the Asia-Pacific region.

AFG's board of directors decided to set up a new production company in China because of AFG's long-term cooperation with these industries.

Apart from the establishment of a production base, AFG has been promoting its Miele Kitchens, a business unit of the kitchen and refrigeration division. Within the last two years, about 2,000 kitchens have been sold in the region.

Last month, AFG's luxury brand Warendorf kitchens debuted in Beijing. The premium brand is designed by French designer Philippe Starck.

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"Adding new and versatile elements to the kitchen is the central point to respond to peoples' changing demand for kitchens," said Starck. He designed the series linking food and culture in the construction of kitchens.

Warendorf doesn't come cheap. The average Warendorf kitchen is priced at 600,000 yuan ($87,792), according to Ken Li, assistant manager of the kitchen division at AFG.

In addition to AFG, other global kitchen manufacturers are also promoting their high-end products in China. Valcucine, an Italian kitchen maker known for loud colors and cutting-edge designs, opened its first Asian showroom in Hong Kong on May 5, showing its latest designs.

Valcucine CEO Leandro Cappellotto said: "We are expanding the brand to a worldwide market, with China as a key focus."

Germany kitchen manufacturer ALNO opened its first store in Fujian province in April. ALNO entered the Chinese market in the 1990s. At present, its sales network covers Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian. The average price of an ALNO kitchen is 470,000 yuan.

With a wide variety of options, consumers are cautious about buying kitchen furniture.

"I will choose a better known brand with credible quality, because quality is the first consideration," said Zhang Xiaoyu, a 30-year-old employee at an investment bank.