China was the world's top purchaser of refrigerators, washing machines, and rice cookers in 2003, according to the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association.
The association's first-ever report on global demand for five key white goods including -- refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, and rice cookers -- also predicts that China will continue growing as a market for these products in 2004 and beyond.
In contrast, the Japanese market is forecast to account for less of the global market for all five product categories. The U.S. remains the biggest buyer of vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens. The report predicts that India and Russia will become significant markets for refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, respectively. Brazil is expected to rank fifth as a refrigerator market in 2005.
Worldwide demand for the five home appliances is estimated at 281.33 million units in 2004, up 3.9 percent year-on-year. The association sees demand for all five products growing steadily, at a pace of a few percent, until 2006. (Asia Pulse, Nikkei)
to Daily News