Business / Gadgets

Videographic: foreign firms shine in smog market

By Liu Zheng ( Updated: 2014-03-28 14:37


With smoggy days becoming common in China's cities and annual sales for air purifiers well over the $400 million mark, it's easy to see why foreign companies, Chinese appliance makers, and even some expat entrepreneurs are jostling for a piece of the action.

Take Gus Tate, an American who has come up with his own do-it-yourself approach to cleaning the air around him…

If Tate's invention seems odd, there's still no denying the explosive boom in the air-purifier business…

Statistics by China Market Monitor show the number of air purifiers sold in 2013 was 2.4 million, up 90 percent from the previous year. Retail sales also soared, hitting $417 million, an increase of 160 percent in a single year.

With last year's average price at $503, and the price gradually being pushed up by growing demand, global electronics giants, such as Dutch Philips, Swiss Electrolux, Korean Samsung, and Japan's Panasonic, have been eager to get into the China's market.

As it stands, foreign brands now control 80 percent of China's market, with Philips and Panasonic commanding the top two sales positions and more than 60 percent of the overall market.

Other firms are fast approaching. Chinese manufacturer LEXY's saw a 1,773 percent jump in sales last year, while America's Austin Mecent had a 502 percent increase and Japan’s Sharp's rose 433 percent.

More companies are joining the competition all the time.

China's electrics giant Wanjiale introduced air cleaners at the end of 2013, and Chinese television maker Skyworth Group, Japan's Mitsubishi Electric, and Canadian Amaricare all plan to launch air-purifying products in China this year.

Some people, however, who have lived in Beijing long enough to take air-purifying matters into their own hands… or, in the case, of British artist Matt Hope, their feet.

Matt Hope's interview was contributed by Sun Peng.

Story: Liu Zheng

Animation: Liu Zheng

Videographer: Liu Zheng and Sun Peng

Voiceover: Charles McDermid

Producer: Zhao Tingting

Executive producer: Han Lei and Charles McDermid

Videographic: foreign firms shine in smog market


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