Famous Chinese home appliance maker Haier is transitioning from a traditional home appliance maker to a smart home solutions provider. The move coincides with China’s entering the age of the Internet of Things (IoT).
But what exactly is going on there, BizTalk sat down with Zhou Yunjie, president of Haier Group, to get some answers.
Once synonymous with China’s opening-up in the 1980s when electric appliances were on everyone’s wish lists, Haier now holds one-tenth of the world’s appliance market.
“There has been a slew of Chinese brands like Haier that became globally recognized and have been successful. So, I believe we are among the beneficiaries of the reform and opening up of China,” Zhou said.
Haier got its start with refrigerators. From there, it went through diversification, globalization and digitization to become the world’s biggest appliance maker.
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Zhou believes that in the age of the IoT, products will become less and less valuable, and “what is really valuable are these smart home solutions.”
“That’s why we come up with the Haier Smart home solution where we hope we can make our customers’ life intelligent and interactive so that in the future the Haier Smart Home solution can ensure robust growth of our business,” Zhou told CGTN.
To prepare for its future in smart home solutions, Haier has changed its name from Qingdao Haier to Haier Smart Homes – a move Zhou has described as “strategic transformation.”
“It reveals that we are preparing for the age of the Internet of Things. This is the age where home appliances and customers will be interconnected,” he said. “So, with our food network, your fridge manages your food, devises the menu and you can order on the fridge directly. Plus, we connect with many organic food producers to give our customers that access.”
Zhou is bullish on the future growth of Haier’s smart home solutions. More than 10 million people have signed up for its smart home solutions, according to Haier’s data.
“The user base is huge, but as young people born in the 1990s and millennials grow up and begin to set up their own families, I believe more users will sign up for our Haier Smart Home service. So, I am confident that this solution will become even more popular,” Zhou said. CGTN