Biz / Tech

Home appliances get smarter to meet demand

Zhu Shenshen
Industry officials say Shanghai is leading the way as intelligence, wireless connection and health care become the latest trends in Chinese home appliances.
Zhu Shenshen

Intelligence, wireless connection and health care have become the latest trends in the Chinese home appliance industry. 

Shanghai is leading the upgrades nationwide with tech-savvy users, customized scenarios and local events including the Double Five Shopping Festival, industry officials said.

In the first quarter, China's smart home appliance sales hit 47 million units, a growth of 27.7 percent year on year. This year's sales will hit 250 million units, a 21.1 percent growth from a year ago, according to researcher International Data Corp. 

The industry has becomes more intelligent with the development of 5G, artificial intelligence and the cloud and the joining of tech giants such as Xiaomi and Huawei, which released the HarmonyOS system to connect various devices, said officials from brands such as Haier, Midea, Gree, Robam, Hisense and Roca.

Shenzhen-listed Midea has announced plans to support HarmonyOS in various new products. It has launched intelligent products covering clothes dryers and dishwashers under the Colmo brand. 

Spain-based Roca displayed intelligent bathroom products in Shanghai recently. They included smart bathing products with customized temperature and water setups and voice-control toilets with contactless control. 

Chinese consumers, especially Shanghai families, care more and more about health and good-quality lifestyles, said Robam. The brand sees surging demand its kitchen and cooking products.

Shanghai families are willing to pay for digital upgrades and setups for health, said Han Jianhua, secretary general of the Shanghai Commercial Trade Association of Household Electric and Electronic Appliances. 

Shanghai has unique advantages and platforms with online and offline channels to boost cross-industry innovation. City-level campaigns such as the Double Five Shopping Festival fuel sales and demand by showing latest industry innovations and upgrades, industry officials said.

Electronics retailer Gome said off-line outlets are still essential, especially for customized and intelligent products. Consumers need space to test and experience products before making a decision, said Gome, which has 3,400 outlets nationwide.

The industry should establish a sustainable and long-term ecosystem to meet customized and surging demand. Consumers now need a whole smart home instead of single-function devices, said Han.

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