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Taiwan Appliance Producers Raise White Goods Prices
Oct 8, 2004
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Panazonic, Kolin and other manufacturers are altering price tags and raising the retail prices of washing machines and refrigerators in Taiwan by around 5 percent starting in November.

Blaming the rising costs of raw materials on the global market, the price hikes would place an extra NT 1,000 to NT 2,000 (U.S. $29 to $58) per unit, according to the companies, which include Panasonic, Kolin, Sanyo, and Teco.

Chen Shih-chang, general manager of Panasonic Consumer Sales Taiwan, said the company would start marking up prices to reflect higher material costs.

Other major white goods producers also confirmed they would follow suit in raising the costs of Taiwan’s consumer durable goods before the end of 2004. Similar price hikes on consumer durable goods have taken place in Asia. India’s Business Standard reported retail price hikes in India last month, including refrigerators, washing machines, and air-conditioners which were raised 5 percent.

“It’s impossible not raise prices because of the cost of steel has jumped more than 20 percent over the past six months,” said Steve Chen, manager of Taiwan Kolin Co.

According to a report released by Taiwan's Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the import price index last month increased by a record-high 13.98 percent year-on-year, representing the biggest rise since December 1990. Prices for imported basic metals and related products soared by 37.44 percent from the same period last year, the report said.

This is not the first time that home-appliance manufacturers have raised prices this year, Kolin, Sanyo Electric Co. Taiwan, and Teco Electric and Machinery Co. hiked prices for their air-conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators by 3 percent during the summer.

Sanyo spokesman Liao Shen-hsu said steel, plastics, and copper costs have been climbing non-stop since late 2003, putting pressure on local manufacturers and making another wave of price hikes inevitable. “To remain competitive, we will absorb some of the rising costs and pass some on in our retail prices,” he said.

Air-conditioner prices in Taiwan remain unchanged, since it is the off-season for such appliances. Fiona Wong, marketing manager for Taiwan discount retailer RT Mart, said higher material costs may be reflected in the prices of new products launched in 2005, rather than some appliance producers opting to raise consumer durable goods prices now. (The Taipei Times)

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