Building trust - Opening global markets
Dr Zida Yu, Senior Vice President and Corporate Technology Officer, Haier Group
Dr Zida Yu, Senior Vice President and
Corporate Technology Officer
Dr Yu, Haier is very actively participating in IEC standardization work. What is your motivation for this?
Dr Yu: Haier is a global enterprise and we are probably the household appliance company that has been involved in the largest number of international, national and industrial standards. Our active participation in the IEC allows us to build trust in our products among our worldwide customers and ultimately millions of end-consumers. Participating in IEC work has proven to be the most effective way for us to build our business and open new markets. We have learned a lot from our international peers and this has helped us also in our technology development. Additionally, we are able to cooperate with other companies to develop the increasing number of interconnected consumers want.
I believe that any company that wants to sell and promote its products and services to the global market has a strong interest in participating in IEC work. This can help companies to build trust, be faster to the market; promote their products to global customers, distributors and the industry at lesser cost.
Haier used to produce mostly commodity goods, but today, in some markets, the Haier brand is widely recognized. How are you achieving this?
Dr Yu: Haier sells eco-friendly and tech-rich products at a reasonable price. Today, Haier produces 19 branded products in a wide array of household appliances and electronic goods including computers, televisions and mobile phones. Haier is the global industry leader in terms of market share in refrigerators and washing machines. It is therefore not surprising, that consumers increasingly encounter our products in their daily lives, and they like them because we meet and surpass their expectations.
Haier is strong in innovation and applies leading global technologies in the manufacturing of its products. Haier was for example the first company to combine CFC-free energy-saving technologies with large freezing capacity. Our products frequently receive design awards and are recognized for their energy efficiency. Already in 2002 six Haier refrigerators achieved European A+ standard for energy conservation.
In March 2008, the Financial Times selected Haier as one of “China’s Top 10 Global Brands”. Among Forbes list of the world’s “600 Most Reputable Companies ”, Haier ranked 13th. Business Week’s “List of 50 Most Innovative Enterprises in 2010” also includes Haier. Apparently this hasn’t gone unnoticed by consumers.
Dr Yu. You seem particularly proud of the energy efficiency of Haier products. Aside from a competitive advantage, why is this important to your company?
Dr Yu: With a general rise in the standard of living, the number of households that own home appliances is steadily increasing and with it the demand for power. Haier is the biggest white goods producer in the world. We manufacture and sell millions of home appliances and consumer electronics. That’s why we also have a strong interest and commitment in finding ways to improve the energy efficiency of our devices. We are convinced that any company who is unwilling to take their responsibility in this area is not going to survive in the long run.
Since the end of the 1980s China has developed an extensive programme of energy efficiency standards and labelling for household products. This programme has already resulted in significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and has also stimulated the household appliances market to develop better products. This trend is also the reason why Haier has taken an active role in promoting energy saving in China. As a result, today, the average consumer recognizes and accepts the need to reduce energy consumption.
At Haier we take a holistic approach in trying to reduce our energy footprint: we design our products in line with latest energy saving standards - the United States, Europe and China announce new energy saving standards every two years - and we have always been one of the first companies to meet and surpass those standards, achieving the highest energy efficiency certification.
In manufacturing and operation, we select materials and devices that offer the greatest potential for energy savings, and we have put in place the appropriate recycling systems. In line with this priority, we update our internal efficiency standards at least once a year.
We believe that this coordinated effort has allowed us to become one of the most environmentally friendly companies in this business.
Dr Yu, you are personally participating in IEC work. Can you give us some insights please?
Dr Yu: Yes, I have personally participated in IEC work, notably as a member of PACT (President's Advisory Committee on future Technology). This participation provided me with a valuable opportunity to communicate with other members regarding trends in energy efficiency, smart technology and other interesting topics that will allow us to provide products and services that better meet consumer demands and increase our contribution to sustainability.