Midea makes its mark with research and development drive

Published on 12/06 2017  Source: China Daily


Midea Group, one of the world's leading household appliance manufacturers, is ranked No 165 among the 1,000 largest corporate research and development spenders, according to a recent study released by the consulting firm Strategy&, a subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Midea spent more than $900 million in the past year alone and has positioned itself as a world-leading technologies group in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; consumer appliances; robotics and automation systems, as well as smart supply chains.

The group is aiming to strengthen its market position through innovations, proprietary technologies, patents and technological know-how, said Paul Fang, chairman and CEO of Midea Group.

"Technological innovation and progress are our core long-term strategy," said Fang. "The group has invested generously in sectors such as human-machine interfaces, so we can seize more opportunities and capitalize on the fields of intelligent manufacturing and smart homes."

To implement this strategy, Midea has set up more than 20 R&D centers around the world, including in China, the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany and Austria, in order to apply the most advanced technologies. 

Last year, it opened two R&D centers in Louisville and Silicon Valley in the US. Midea also set up an R&D center in Austria this year.

"Midea's research has gone far beyond its household appliance sector to reach the areas of artificial intelligence, microchips, sensors, and smart robots," said Fang.

To fulfill its ambitions, Midea has spared no efforts in attracting professionals. Part of its R&D spending is on leading researchers

Last year, the group offered 1 million yuan ($151,301) salary packages in a global search to recruit professionals holding PhD degrees, which made headlines in many local media.

Midea has attracted leading professionals from Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the US, and as well as top researchers from renowned universities and research institutes all over the world.

Currently, more than 10,000 staff members work on Midea's R&D programs, about 10 percent of whom focus on the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Besides fostering its own talent pool, the group has set up high-level strategic partnerships with more than 100 world-renowned universities and research institutions for technological collaboration.

"Talented people, who are making technological breakthroughs and accelerating the development of top-notch technologies are crucial for Midea's future development," Fang said.

Apart from the generous spending on researchers and R&D, the group also attaches much importance to the application of technologies.

It has signed strategic agreements with many industry leaders, including Huawei Technologies and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings.

It has established a full strategic partnership with Huawei Technologies in terms of smart homes and signed a multi-layer strategic agreement with Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings in the areas of robotics, medical devices, healthcare data application, a smart supply chain, healthcare investment, and intelligent manufacturing.

The group has also forged a multi-sector and multi-layer partnership with Country Garden, a Chinese leading real estate developer, and is exploring smart town projects, smart home appliances, smart home systems and overseas projects.

Midea is also working extensively with its subsidiaries Clivet, Kuka, and Servotronix, to share technologies and leverage each other's advantages.

"As China's only home appliance manufacturer in the Fortune 500, we will continue our investments in R&D to strengthen our core competiveness," Fang said.