Haier is the leading brand in the global household appliance market, but is currently an emerging brand in Europe. The company acquired the Candy Group a few years ago, a move that has made it likely that the company could have serious growth plans in the European markets. We spoke to Karim Bruneo, Corporate Communications Director at Haier’s European headquarters, about the brand’s plans in this direction.
Haier acquired the Candy Group few years ago. What was the main targets of this step from the side of Haier brand?
Haier is the no.1 brand globally in major appliances, building his success on product strategy, know-how and local development. Haier’s goal is to achieve a leading position in all continents and in every market, and Europe was an exception within this path. The acquisition of a leading player like Candy Group goes in that direction, following GE Appliances in the US and Fisher & Paykel in Australia. Haier and Candy were highly complementary in brand and product portfolios, as well as supply chains and the leadership in the IoT market. This investment was expected to further enhance both sides’ competitiveness in the European and global markets, and to enable them to better meet customers’ increasingly sophisticated demands for customized products. Candy was among the European leaders in the field of household appliances and built-in appliances with a consolidated positioning in the central segment of the market. This investment in Candy was an important milestone in Haier’s global development strategy.
„Haier Smart Home growth strategy in Europe aims at reaching the top 3 positions by 2023. ”
Karim Bruneo, Corporate Communications Director at Haier’s European headquarters
What are your goals now on the European markets in the next few years? Do you have any defined goals? For example became the top 3 white goods brand in Europe?
Haier Smart Home growth strategy in Europe aims at reaching the top 3 positions by 2023. Further implement our strategy which has proven to be successful over the last several years: remain close to our consumers, understand them, anticipate their needs and offer them real but pragmatic innovations useful in their daily life. Focus on the premium product segment; today Haier is associated with quality, design and innovation and we want to further promote theses values with the most relevant offer.
What kind of production facilities do you have in Europe and are you planning to extend this?
Haier manufacturing facilities are distributed in 25 industrial parks and in 122 manufacturing centers in all five continents, for a global industrial footprint able to quickly respond to every market. In Europe, Haier has 6 industrial sites and has recently opened brand new facilities in Romania and Turkey, respectively for Cooling and Washing segments. These new investments will boost Haier’s industrial footprint in Europe, by creating lighthouse First-Class factories with premium production processes.
Pandemic changed the market situation in many aspects. Has it any effect on your European plans as well?
We took this emergency very seriously since its first stages, but we have never stopped our operations, always having health and safety on top of our priorities. Despite the emergency, we intend to pursue our strategy and to reach all the targets we have set for the coming years. The impact of Covid-19 in all market segments and our industry has been considerable, but we didn’t experience a fall in sales. We have also noticed an increase in usage of household appliances, as well as an increase in the e-commerce in our industry. Speaking of change in products introduction, we wanted to show our consumers our willingness to provide products and features able to take care of their life at home. Another substantial impact has been in terms of marketing& communication: companies need to respond to the changing needs and expectations of consumers. As an example, we adapted our tone of voice and the type of message: we launched a series of campaigns aimed at emphasizing the hygiene and the cleaning capabilities of our products, and two specific programs for wash and sanitize the protective masks.