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Haier Chief Considering Joint Ventures with Japan Firms
Oct 13, 2004
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China's Haier Group Inc. is considering joint ventures with Japanese electronics and appliance makers, but it is too early for the company to think about buying a Japanese firm, the chief executive of Haier said.

"Japanese companies are the most advanced in the world…. While we are thinking of joint ventures, it's too early to think about [buying Japanese firms]," Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin said at the Japan Press Club.

The state-run collective, which has shares listed in Shanghai as Qingdao Haier Refrigerator Co. and in Hong Kong as Haier-CCT Holdings Ltd., is one of a few manufacturing companies in China attempting to create a global brand name.

Mr. Zhang added that Haier, said to be the world's fourth-largest white goods maker, is working with its Japanese partner, Sanyo Electric Co. and Samsung Corp. to develop networked appliances and an Asian standard for them.

Regarding other electronics like flat-panel displays, Mr. Zhang said that Haier will incorporate technology from other places, such as Taiwan, and market the appliances, rather than trying to develop the technology itself.

He said that profits in the Chinese household appliance sector, covering products such as refrigerators, washing machines, and air-conditioners, are dropping due to much harsher competition after China's entry into the World Trade Organization, which allowed foreign companies greater opportunities in the market.

As such, he said the only way to remain competitive is to compete on the global stage, as Haier has done by entering the U.S. and European markets, including setting up plants in South Carolina, U.S. and in Italy. (Dow Jones)

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