The rise of smart appliances in China

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A whopping 97 per cent of the Chinese population prefers smart home appliances, particularly television sets, according to the latest survey conducted by China Household Electrical Appliances Association (CHEAA).

As a result, more than 90 per cent of the 500-plus appliance makers who took part in CHEAA’s fourth Appliance World Expo exhibited smarter interactive products.

For example, the world’s biggest appliance manufacturer Haier showcased a smart modularised television with bespoke functions. Another TV maker, TCL, has partnered with internet video firm Iqiyi to provide clients with products capable of streaming videos from various sources.

Pressured by stiffer competition from high-tech start-ups, established appliance makers in China have realised that they have to further improve their design and business models in order to survive in an internet-savvy world, said experts.

“The internet is transforming the whole industrial chain of home appliances, pushing it to be more interactive and smarter with big data and cloud computing,” noted Bu Zhengfa, Chairman of the China National Light Industry Council.

In addition, the demand for smart appliances such as air purifiers is growing as the Chinese become increasingly more health conscious because of the prevalence of smog and other ecological hazards in their country.

“Interactivity and health are the orders of the day for the appliance sector,” commented CHEAA Chair Jiang Feng.

The popularity of smart appliances was also further boosted by China’s broadband strategy, which was unveiled in August 2013. The programme aims to increase internet speed in rural areas by four megabytes per second (Mbps) by 2020 and by 20 Mbps for urban areas.