Interview with Yunze Zhou, Haiers new chairman and CEO Korea, home appliance standards are very high… New life experience User-centered product development strengths�� Many overseas success stories [Beijing = E-Daily Correspondent Shin Jeong-eun] ��Only when we compete with multinational companies abroad can we create truly world-class luxury goods. Haier will continue to maintain its initial focus in the Korean market and achieve product innovation and differentiation.�� Zhou Yunjie (��녽�, photo, 56), chairman and CEO of Chinas Haier Group, the worlds largest home appliance brand, said in an interview with E-Daily on the 16th. Zhou is leading the company after Haier founder Zhang Ruimin (������) resigned from the management line in November last year after 37 years. Photo=Courtesy of Haier Group. After graduating from university in 1988, Chairman Zhou joined the Qingdao Refrigerator Factory, a state-owned enterprise that was the predecessor of Haier, and served as factory manager and general manager. He became the Vice-Governor of Haier in 2000 and has been with Haiers history since he was appointed as the governor in 2013. In an interview with the Korean media for the first time since taking office, Chairman Zhou said about Haiers overseas expansion strategy, “First, becoming a luxury brand in developed markets, and then opening up markets in developing countries.” “In 1999, Haier established a factory in the United States, By segmenting demand, we entered the market as a niche product.�� At that time, Haier made it possible to attach a computer desk to a refrigerator for college student dormitories in the United States. According to Euromonitor, a global market research institute, Haier has maintained the worlds number one sales of large home appliances for 13 consecutive years until last year. Last years sales reached 332.7 billion yuan (about 64.74 trillion won), up 10% from the previous year. However, Haiers sales in the Korean market are not satisfactory compared to other countries. In 2004, when it was in the early stage of its entry into Korea, it achieved good results, such as ranking first in sales of wine refrigerators. There was a limit to increasing the market share. Haiers strategy is to strengthen marketing of popular products, such as color glass refrigerators, which can be selected by selecting the color and material of the door, which has recently been well received in Korea. This product has become a flagship product, accounting for 28% of Haier refrigerator sales in Korea last year. Chairman Zhou said, ��Korea is a market with a very high level of home appliances,�� and said, ��Since entering the Korean market, Haier has consistently maintained innovation that satisfies the needs of local users.�� He emphasized, “As we approach the 20th anniversary of our entry into Korea in 2024, we will maintain our initial focus and provide Korean users with an intelligent and personalized life experience through product innovation and differentiation.” A view of Haiers Qingdao headquarters. Photo courtesy of Haier. The following is Q&A with Chairman Zhou. – What do you think is Haiers main competitive edge? ��Currently, Haier has seven major brands, including Haier, Leader, GEA, AQUA, Candy, and Fish & Pike, and provides services to more than 1 billion households in over 160 countries and regions around the world. Haiers competitiveness can be summarized in two ways. First, it is always user-cenHuawei ranks first in global telecommunication equipment sales…tered. For example, it has developed a refrigerator with four drawers at a height of 2 meters for Russian consumers who are tall and like to share and store ingredients. In India, in consideration of the shortage of water supply, it introduced a zero (0) hydraulic washing machine. The second is to always uphold scientific and technological innovation. Haier has already established a global innovation system worldwide, so it can identify user needs in different regions and quickly integrate global resources to innovate technology accordingly. In addition, the cumulative number of patent applications for Haier reached 75,000. In the 2021 global smart home invention patent ranking, Haier ranked first in the world with 4535 patents. -If you evaluate the current Chinese home appliance market. �� Changes in consumption in China are clear. Consumption patterns are upgrading. The entire home appliance industry is moving in the direction of luxury, customization, and intelligence. At the same time, as the needs of users are diversified, a customized one-stop method has become a new choice for users. I think there is no competitor, only users. Our starting point is to give our users the best possible experience. Users demands are endless, and our innovations are endless. In order to satisfy the user experience, we will unite with ecosystem partners in each field, and create and share new values ??constantly. -Haier Group seems to have entered the overseas market relatively early among Chinese companies. Is there a reason? �� The reason for rushing to advance overseas is very simple. To create a Chinese global brand. In the 1980s, founder Zhang Ruimin discovered that there were very few Chinese-branded goods in Germany. He was celebrating a holiday in Germany at the time, and saw a fireworks festival in the night sky, and found out that the fireworks used were imported from China. Founder Zhang felt that the inventions of his ancestors were great, even though Chinas industrial level was inferior, and he vowed to create a world-class brand. Haier is one of the earliest Chinese companies to enter the overseas market. Haier has established its own brand since 1991, when it started mass exporting, and has already entered the harvest period of global brands. -2024 marks the 20th anniversary of Haiers entry into Korea. What are your long-term goals and plans? ��Korea is a market with a very high level of home appliances. Since entering Korea, we have consistently maintained innovation to satisfy the needs of local users. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we will continue to maintain our initial focus and integrate world-class ecosystem cooperation resources with a focus on user experience. In addition, it will provide an intelligent and individualized life experience to Korean users with innovative and differentiated products. -Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers? What opportunities can Korean companies find in the Chinese market? According to data from kotra, South Koreas exports to China in 2021 reached $213.6 billion, an increase of more than 20% compared to the previous year, recording an all-time high. With the official entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), it is expected that economic, trade, investment, and technological cooperation between the two countries will continue to deepen. I hope that more Korean friends will visit China and share opportunities for development amid the rapidly developing economy. Chairman Zhou (left) is looking at Haier products. Photo courtesy of Haier.