Business / Companies

Zwilling stays at cutting edge of the kitchenware industry

By LIU XIANGRUI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-30 08:27

Suiting Chinese habits

For example, besides Chinese chefs' knives, woks and kitchen machine, the company has now developed pans with a copper sandwich layer to suit Chinese cooking habits, while most cookware in the world uses an aluminum layer, said Ma Lifeng, general manager of Zwilling J.A. Henckels Shanghai.

The company will invest more in new machinery for its production line in Shanghai for capacity growth, quality improvement and innovation, Schiffers said.

As China's economy enters the "new normal" period with slower growth, Schiffers said the company is prepared for challenges, including a drop in sales due to possible weaker consumer confidence.

In 2014 its China branch had growth of 20 percent and is expecting an average growth rate of 10 percent in the next two to three years, according to Schiffers.

"However, challenges create new opportunities. Sometimes you need challenges to become better," Schiffers said, adding that the current situation urges his company to focus more on end consumers in product development.

Schiffers has noticed the transition of Chinese manufacturing from being price-oriented to quality-oriented.

"Any current or future brand can be our competitor. This may come soon. So we are going to be prepared," Schiffers said.

"We like competition because it generates new ideas. But we are focusing more on our own operations and strategy instead of our competitors."

The company is adopting new business formats at a rapid pace, such as TV shopping and online shopping, although traditional approaches, such as sales points, remain important.

"Four years ago, online shopping was almost zero. Now it's really big for us," Schiffers said. Its Chinese branch is cooperating with major Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Tmall to expand online business.

The biggest challenge for Zwilling at the moment is how to satisfy consumers not only with products but also great services in respective distribution channels, according to Schiffers.

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