Joyoung invests in R&D, innovation security

Published on 07/13 2017  Source: China Daily


As the success stories of Chinese manned spaceflights are uplifting the nation, kitchen appliance maker Joyoung has positioned itself in close proximity to the space exploration heroes.

The company is headquartered in Jinan, Shandong province in East China. It has been selected to provide proprietary technological solutions to provide heated food and drinking water in a spacecraft in 2020.

Being tasked with the space kitchen program is a clear endorsement of Joyoung's consistent pursuit of health and safety through innovation, industry insiders said.

Since it created the world's first household soy milk maker in 1994, the company has maintained its No 1 ranking by market shares in the segment.

A salesman introduces Joyoung products to consumers in a home appliance store in Beijing. A Qing / For China Daily

To date, it has developed a diverse product portfolio, including food processors, juice extractors, induction cookers and electric pressure pots.

The company generated more than 7.3 billion yuan ($1.07 billion) in sales last year, of which new products contributed roughly 76 percent, or 5.6 billion yuan.

It spends the equivalent of 3 percent of its average annual business revenue on research and development, said Han Run, vice-president of Joyoung.

"Without intellectual property support and protection, we couldn't reach where we are," she said.

The company has more than 3,000 patents, including 50 granted overseas. Approximately one-third of them relate to its signature soy milk maker line. Joyoung filed 1,020 patent applications in 2016, including 15 international filings via the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

"IP is our core asset," Han said. "It is the driving force behind our company's sustainable growth."

Joyoung has prevailed over its opponents in more than 100 patent disputes in recent years, including some involving international industrial leaders, according to the company.

Cheng Lingjun, IP director at Joyoung, said: "High-value patents are generally the technological solutions to the difficulties facing the whole industry."

Before 1999, most household soybean milk-making machines were laid aside after they were used two or three times, because "it was hard to get them clean," Cheng recalled.

The reason was the difficulty in controlling the temperature when they were working, which also affected the soy milk's taste, he said.

Joyoung researchers developed a patented temperature-sensing structure to address the problem, turning around the entire sector.

The company's technologies concerning soy milk makers have experienced 19 major upgrades over the past 23 years, each time reinforcing Joyoung's leading position in the industry, Cheng added.

It takes a Joyoung machine eight minutes to make a glass of soy milk from soybeans. With computer-controlled technologies and access to Wi-Fi services, users can use their smartphones to set the time and temperature for warming their soy milk for tomorrow morning.

The company's strong innovation capacities enabled it to become a gold award winner at the 2015 WIPO-SIPO Awards for Outstanding Chinese Patented Inventions and Industrial Designs, the country's top patent awards.

The international standards for soy milk makers initiated by Joyoung were released by the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2012, the first of its kind from a small appliance manufacturer in China.

Other international standards formulated by the company involve noodle makers, which were released by the IEC in 2016.

"All our innovations revolve around satisfying consumers' needs," Cheng said. "Our research focus is always targeted at what they need most."

Its product lineup also includes Tibetan butter tea makers and a type of electric frying cooker with more than 100 in-built functions.

The cooker can complete a dish within a few minutes while preventing smoke, which is hard to achieve when making traditional Chinese fried dishes.

Such innovations, based on Asian diet varieties, have helped to ease the strains of fast-paced urban life, according to the company.