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A woman cooking food at home. International electrical appliance producers, including Emerson Electric Co of the United States and Dyson of the United Kingdom, see the demand for food waste disposal units in China will be very attractive in coming years. Provided to China Daily
Fancy and effective designs that improve life prove to be most attractive to people
Catherine Yang insisted on installing a food waste disposal unit in her kitchen when carrying out home improvements in her new apartment in Shanghai.
"Living in the United States for nearly 10 years, I found having a food waste disposer was an indispensable household appliance in the kitchen," she said. The appliance is installed under a kitchen sink between the drain and a trap that shreds food waste into pieces small enough to pass through the plumbing and into the sewers.
"Around 90 percent of households in North America have food waste disposers. They keep kitchen waste out of the open air. More importantly, the waste can be recycled to generate fuel or fertilize land," said Yang, adding that she felt lucky to find the InSinkErator branded products in China.
She said the InSinkErator, made by Emerson Electric Co, was the first and is currently the largest producer of food waste disposers around the world. In the US, more than half of US families use its products.
Along with the increase in disposable income and pursuit of a higher-quality lifestyle, more and more Chinese people, especially those with decent incomes, overseas experience or who travel abroad a lot, want to buy high-end household appliances with unique designs and "green" characteristics.
Such products emerging in China include garbage disposers, bladeless electric fans as well as air cleaners that disinfect and ozone-producing devices.
Frank Bryant, international vice-president of Emerson InSinkErator, said his company entered China as early as 15 year ago. The business has been booming - sales grew 50 percent annually - for the past five years. He attributed the good performance to not only surging demand for high-end appliances but also his company's efforts to tailor products to Chinese people.
"The diet habits and food Chinese people eat are very different from the West," said Bryant, citing high-fiber vegetable, fruit peel, bone, chicken skin and kernels as examples. "Using the same motor technology of Emerson's US products, the grinding technologies are modified in China to guarantee waste disposal is fast and the waste pieces are small enough," he said.
InSinkErator's products in China are easier to install, maintain and clean. In addition, "It's easier to recycle because we provide a component replacement service in China," said Jenny Chen, general manager of Emerson InSinkErator China.
A new series of the company's products tailored for China also adopted splash-proof technology to prevent food waste and water from splashing out of the grinding chamber. Their small size saves space, a necessary consideration for Chinese families who usually have less space than US households.
"We used our experience in the US and modified it for the Chinese market," said Bryant.
Unlike the InSinkErator, the UK high-end household appliance brand Dyson wants to push its products in China with their original designs and style.
Founded in 1992 by James Dyson, an independent designer and engineer, the company became known for its unconventional technology, designs and bold color mixtures. Its most well known products are multiple-use vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans.
Much welcomed in Europe and Japan, Dyson is expected to enter China in November via the international luxury distributor Jebsen Group.
Helmuth Hennig, managing director of Jebsen Group, said that the emerging and special-interest brands must highlight their uniqueness and the value of their distinguished designs. "Dyson needs experienced distributors like us to use our network and reputation to promote their products," he said, adding that Dyson's products will first focus on key cities and people pursuing high-quality lifestyles.
David Zhao, a communication manager at a foreign-funded industry group in China, said he bought a bladeless fan online this summer. "It's really cool - I mean the cooling effect and the appearance. Although the price may be 10 times an ordinary one, it's worth it," he said.
Due to air pollution in many key cities and chemical pollution from home improvements, many people choose to use air cleaners at home.
"There are multiple choices in our stores. Besides ordinary and economical ones, we have premium products with more specific functions, such as those that provide ozone, ion purification and essential oils," said an assistant in a Suning store in Beijing, adding that the majority of them are imported and expensive.
Wang Xiaoying, an analyst with Sinolink Securities Co, said the emergence of these kinds of high-end household appliances in China was inevitable.
"Price is not a problem for this group of people. They have money and are willing to spend it on a high-quality lifestyle," he said. "Their biggest concerns are quality and after-sales service so companies should make more effort in these areas."
InSinkErator's Bryant said his company has a good reputation for reliable quality around the world. It also has an after-sales service system in China implemented by dealers.
Wang also said that being "green" is a good selling point in China, where people's awareness of the environment is ever-increasing.
InSinkErator operates in cooperation with local governments, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Caofeidian, in Hebei province, to promote its products, enabling it to lower transportation costs, reduce pollution and increase the garbage recycling rate.
It also set up strategic partnerships with a series of big real estate developers, including China Vanke Co, Green Town Real Estate Co and Shimao Property Holding Ltd, to install its machines in newly built homes.
"So far, around 40 percent of our products are for projects and 60 percent are retailed. We expect the retailing element to surge much higher than the project sector," said Chen of Emerson InSinkErator China.
(China Daily 11/12/2012 page15)