By Pankaj Yadav and Zhao Xu
NEW DELHI, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Consumer durables and home appliances giant Haier is making great efforts to meet the growing demand of Indian market and help improve living standard of local people by introducing smart electronic products to the country.
After 15 years of operation in India, the Chinese giant recently held the groundbreaking ceremony of its second industrial park in India, which is expected to be the biggest ever in the country, in Greater Noida in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Once operating at its fullest capacity, the industrial park would make an output of 2 million units of refrigerators, 1 million units of LED TVs, 1 million units of washing machines and 1 million units of air conditioners annually.
The park will also generate around 14,000 jobs after the first Haier manufacturing plant created some 12,000 jobs in Pune, an industrial city in the southwestern state of Maharashtra, company sources said.
Having closed the year 2018 with a total turnover of 3800 crore Indian Rupees (around 543 million U.S. dollars), the global brand is currently at number five in terms of sales in India, and yearns to be among the top three brands by the next year, claimed company sources.
"India is a big market for us and we would like to continue to invest here in manufacturing and simultaneously design technological innovations specifically for our Indian consumers," said Song Yujun, Haier's vice president and south Asian managing director.
Enough care has been taken by Haier to customize and localize its products to meet Indian customers' needs and suit the local conditions here. One such attempt was the "Jhukna Mat" campaign, which aimed at avoiding bending by users to put in or bring out commodities stored inside the fridge. This was introduced to the Indian market seven years ago, and the concept had an immediate acceptance.
"Traditionally, in the refrigerators the veggies box was at the bottom and the home-maker women had to bend down many times in a day to put in or pull out commodities stored inside the box," said President of Haier Appliances (India) Eric Braganza. "After proper product research we introduced the upside-down concept, and put the veggies box at the top to ensure that people, especially women, avoid bending. This change has been well received by Indian consumers."
Another example of localization was that Haier redesigned the ratio of deep-freezer and normal cooling area inside refrigerators as Indians do not require much of deep-freezing capacity, according to Braganza.
As part of a strategy to associate itself with different strata of the Indian society, Haier began the "Laundry Service" concept to cater to the need of washing clothes at Delhi University's Indraprastha College for Women. Around 500 female students can wash their clothes at the washing machines installed with the help of the Haier Wash App.
The washing machines' users can reserve, schedule, monitor and pay for the services with their phones. This provides an end-to-end digitally managed washing experience. Each washing machine is connected to the cloud and can be individually managed from the application.
Ghanshyam Saini, an air-conditioner repairer, told Xinhua that he finds the Haier air-conditioners better than other brands in the same segment in Indian market. "The concept of auto-clean in Haier air-conditioners is unique which other brands in the same segment don't have, and it's fast becoming a unique selling proposition," he added.
"Last year when I went to the market to buy a refrigerator I didn't have any particular brand in my mind. Then, the marketing executive at the shop introduced the Haier refrigerator to me and I found the price tag to be the lowest if compared to other brands in the same segment. I bought it and have had a very good experience over the past one year. I think it's the real value for money," said Deepak Kumar Yadav, a resident of Pandwala Kalan village in Southwest Delhi.
Ajay Kumar, a sales executive at chain home appliance store Vijay Sales in Gurugram city of northern state of Haryana, told Xinhua that the Haier brand of consumer durables is getting popular among the consumers due to its low prices and extra features if compared to other brands.
"Particularly about Haier brand I can say that its products are low priced, and one of the major factors in the Indian consumers' while buying a home appliance is the price. Haier's refrigerators, air-conditioners or washing machines carry very competitive price tags, and hence, figure prominently among the consumers' minds," he said.
He further stated that the features in Haier's products are also unique, like the air-conditioners have self-cleaning system, and the refrigerators have been customized suiting the Indian consumers' needs.