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Chinese firms of consumer electronics target higher-end overseas market

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-09-06 13:54

A visitor experiences an extended reality device at the booth of Chinese company TCL during the IFA 2023 in Berlin, capital of Germany, on Sept 1, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

BERLIN -- "I think the old thinking about Chinese companies is over now," said Julien Labbe, head of Europe marketing with China's projector manufacturer XGIMI with confidence when asked about the European consumers' opinion about Chinese products.

At IFA 2023 in Berlin, a leading trade fair for consumer electronics, Labbe told Xinhua that the European consumers' old impression of Chinese products as having lower prices and poor quality has changed.

"You have seen that (change) in the smartphone industry, with many Chinese big players," said Labbe. "For video projectors, it is the same."

According to the IFA's official website, nearly 1,300 Chinese exhibitors have registered for this year's event. Chinese companies such as Hisense, TCL and Haier have occupied some of the largest exhibit areas with various products.

XGIMI entered the European market only two years ago, but its market share has been rising rapidly as its product lineup expands. This year at the IFA, the company launched a flagship projector with a hybrid laser and LED system, which is priced at 1,899 euros ($2,036).

Marching towards the higher-end market overseas is a strategy taken by many household appliance manufacturers from China.

Hisense told Xinhua that "moving to a higher-end product lineup is an important approach for Chinese enterprises to go global." Televisions are the main products of the major appliance and electronics manufacturer based in Qingdao, Shandong province, China.

In a speech at IFA 2023, Hisense Group's President Yu Zhitao noted that the consumer electronics industry has witnessed disruptive changes over the past four years as AI technology reshapes human interaction with machines. Therefore, his company has kept upgrading and optimizing its products and services to make them more intelligent and user-friendly.

Chinese home appliance maker Haier also told Xinhua that the company has been building multiple subsidiary brands and continuously increasing the proportion of middle- and high-end products.

For many Chinese companies, efforts to improve brand images have paid off.

"Our business is very popular outside China, especially in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria," said Magda Teresa Partyka, EcoFlow's PR and communications manager in Europe. The company is a Chinese manufacturer of power products and a smart home energy solution provider.

EcoFlow has introduced to Europe a portable power station that can be placed on the balcony, allowing households to store solar energy and monitor energy usage with an app on smartphones. Partyka said this system "giving people the independence of creating their own power" has gained great popularity in the European market.

In addition to providing various products like power supply stations, smart fridges and solar power facilities, the Chinese company offers a long warranty period from 10 to 25 years to customers, which helps build consumer trust and brand prestige.

"There is a saying in Europe, 'I am too poor to buy cheap stuff,'" Partyka said.

Earlier this year, Shi Yonghong, vice president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, told Xinhua that China's machinery and electronics industry has strong resilience, relatively complete industry chains and efficient supply chains.

China has been the world's largest exporter of mechanical and electrical products since 2009, Shi added.

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