Business / Companies

Great home appliance revolution happens in China

By Qiu Quanlin in Foshan, Guangdong (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-06 08:16

Great home appliance revolution happens in China

Li Guolin (right), general manager of Midea's electrical appliances division, shows consumers the latest version of the company's induction heating pressure cooker for rice. QIU QUANLIN / CHINA DAILY

By now, Huang Bing is an expert in cooking rice to perfection. He spent years working in the Midea Group's research and development laboratory that designs, among other things, new electric rice cookers.

The Chinese home appliances maker had Huang as its chief product manager for the past two-and-a-half years. He oversaw the electric heating appliances product development division. There, he may have cooked almost 2 metric tons of rice, enough to feed a four-member family for eight years.

"I also ate rice, normally finishing 10 bowls of rice each day at the laboratory," he said, smiling.

Midea unveiled the result of all that effort, a top-end electric rice cooker, in April last year in Japan.

That launch created a wave of R&D of made-in-China electric cookers targeted at both domestic and overseas markets.

"China-made rice cookers are now time-tested, their high quality is specially designed for Chinese consumers," said Huang. "The latter have developed different needs in cooking rice. For example, they want the cooker to also make soups. So, we have to develop products that can meet their various needs."

Sales of the Dingfu induction heating or IH rice cooker, priced 2,999 yuan ($460), surpassed 100 million yuan in the second half of last year, according to Li Guolin, general manager of Midea's consumer electric appliances division.

Dingfu cooker uses what is considered the best water-to-rice proportion and various heat settings during cooking.

Midea, based in the manufacturing base in Foshan, Guangdong province, is keen to design and produce small smart appliances.

"We always prioritize the task of producing best cooking solutions for Chinese consumers," said Li.

The company has a R&D team comprising more than 100 researchers to build the world's finest electric cooker, Li said. "It normally takes more than two years for the research and development of a new variety of rice cookers."

Midea's laboratory at its consumer electric appliances factory employs dozens of workers to test new types of rice cookers.

According to Li, the company's rice cookers are sold mostly in China where consumers have developed a taste for certain flavors of cooked rice. They prefer it soft and full of natural goodness.

On China's major e-commerce platforms including and, Dingfu rice cooker sales have been among the top 10 brands since it was launched last year.

Researchers with Midea spent eight years to develop a map, which identifies the origin and varieties of Chinese rice. "The map gives us a good understanding of Chinese rice, allowing users to cook the grain in a way that retains its natural flavor," Li said.

The Dingfu smart cookers have been shipped to overseas markets, including Japan that an increasing number of Chinese consumers have been visiting to buy small home appliances.

"It will take some time for Chinese consumers to know more about China-made cookers. Our products are good both quality- and design-wise."

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