Haier sets up Asia HQ in Japan

Updated: 2012-02-17 12:56


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TOKYO - Haier, China's biggest home appliance company announced on Wednesday the establishment of its Asia headquarters in Japan, as well as research and development centers in Tokyo and Osaka, marking another big step in its global strategy since it entered the Japanese market.  

Liang Haishan, Haier's Executive VP in charge of white goods, told Xinhua that Haier, helped by its innovated the management mode, would make good use of the research and development resources in Japan, and try to better meet users' needs.

Haier reached a final agreement with Japan's Sanyo Electric to purchase the latter's white goods operations in Japan and Southeast Asia in October 2011. Under the acquisition contracts, Haier has the right to sell washing machines, consumer refrigerators, and television sets under the Sanyo brand in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

This is the first deal by which a Chinese firm has bought major business segments from a Japanese manufacturer.

Liang noted that the decision of taking over the white goods business form Sanyo suited Haier's global strategy of making Haier an instantly recognizable brand. Sanyo, with its products covering Japan and Southeast Asia markets, is the long-term partner of Haier since Haier entered the Japanese market.

Sanyo's brand recognition, research and development capability, distribution channels and manufacture resources all met Haier's need. The two research and development centers also can help Haier enhance its shares in other markets.

"In implementing our global strategy, we follow the rule of first tackling the toughest before coming to the easier ones, set by Haier Group CEO Zhang Ruimin. With the most sophisticated household appliance technology and the most demanding customers, Japan is one of the most difficult markets to get into. If Haier can gain a foothold in Japan's market, the brand influence of Haier will be immensely improved," Liang Haishan said.

"Our sales figure has reached 1 billion JPY since 2002, but it is not the only thing we focused on, we also have gained wider experiences and been recognized by users in Japan," he added.

"Japan has strict market access rules, it helped us to improved the quality of our products, and make us strive to develop new products through a better understanding of local users' needs," Liang said.

The weak performance of some Japanese major home appliance makers in recent years prompted some critics to say Japan's home appliance industry has begun to decline. The latest statistics indicated that Japan's domestic shipments of white goods fell 0.8 percent by value in 2011 from the previous year to 2.2 trillion yen.

Liang Haishan noted that Japan's home appliance companies are strong in technology, research and development, they are still very competitive if they adapt to the new circumstances.

Liang said Haier's secret to success is to inspire employee's enthusiasm, which serves to inject the corporation with vitality. The company will continue exploring all possible ways to boost its competitiveness, either by cooperation with other companies or possible future acquisitions, he added.