Chinese appliances maker Haier
on Thursday inaugurated a Rs 600-crore industrial park in Pune, becoming the second Chinese company after the Guangdong-based Midea Group
to increase its India bet in the sector.
In June, Midea, which has a joint venture with air conditioning major Carrier
in India since 2012, had announced an investment of Rs 800 crore for the domestic market. This included setting up a manufacturing plant in Pune, which would come up by the end of 2018, to produce refrigerators, washing machines, and water heaters. While Haier
already had a plant in Pune producing mainly refrigerators, the latest investment would allow the firm to increase capacity from 0.8 million units to 3.8 million units, covering not only refrigerators but also washing machines, air conditioners, water heaters, and LED TVs, said Eric Braganza, president, Haier
The current round of investment also supported the firm’s growth plans, he said. The Qingdao-based firm eyes a turnover of Rs 6,500 crore from India by 2020.
Braganza said the company, headquartered in New Delhi in India, was expected to close this calendar year with a turnover of Rs 2,400 crore, a 47 per cent increase over the previous year. Haier
follows a January to December accounting year.
Song Yujun, vice-president at Haier
Electrical Appliances Corporation, the parent company, who is also director for Haier
in South Asia, said the firm was also looking to set up a research and development facility in India to design products based on local needs. It might also consider setting up more manufacturing facilities as India grew in importance for the Chinese major, he said. “We remain committed to the Indian market, and our plan is to get into the top five league of durable brands in India by 2018 and break into the top three league (of durable brands) by 2020,” he said.
The Rs 60,000-crore consumer durables market in India is largely dominated by Korean firms LG
and Samsung, followed by Indian and Japanese majors such as Videocon and Panasonic, respectively. Other key players include Godrej Appliances, Blue Star, and the Tata-owned Voltas, which recently tied up with Turkish major Arcelik to foray into appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and microwave ovens. Voltas, like Blue Star, currently plays in air conditioners only.
In the past few years, Chinese firms
have ramped up investments across a broad swathe of sectors in India, the most visible being mobile phones and e-commerce. Chinese mobile brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus, for instance, are already household names in India, constituting half of the domestic smartphone market.