Haier Group said Japanese demand will help sustain sales-growth “momentum” this year after revenue grew more than 10 percent in 2009.
The appliance maker, based in Qingdao, eastern China, forecasts rising sales in Japan as consumers in the world’s second-biggest economy are increasingly “putting value at the same level as branding,” President of Asia Pacific operations Philip Carmichael said in an interview in Hong Kong.
Haier, with goods sold in 60 countries, bought 20 percent of New Zealand’s Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd. last year and plans more acquisitions and alliances to expand its brand. The closely held maker of freezers, air conditioners, and televisions is designing a product line specifically for Japan, its third-biggest market, Carmichael said.
“We had a very strong year in 2009 in Japan and we’re going into quarter one now with strong momentum, new products and increased awareness,” Carmichael said in Hong Kong. “I expect that momentum to continue into 2010.”
Japan is the third-largest market for home appliances with China being the biggest, followed by the U.S., Carmichael said. Haier was the world’s top selling brand of refrigerators and laundry appliances by retail volume last year, according to Euromonitor International.
Refrigerator and washing machine sales by volume fell 3 percent and 7 percent respectively in the first six months of last year, according to an August report made by GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd., even as the government provided incentives to promote sales of energy-saving consumer electronics. Refrigerator sales by value rose 7 percent, while they fell 4 percent in the case of washing machines.
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