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Air-conditioner sales up 26% in first 2 months
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China's total air conditioner sales rose 26.7 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2008 to 11.343 million units, the China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

The figures were obtained from a commercial website, www.chinaccm.com.

Experts ascribed the rise to rapid domestic sales growth, which was partly supported by the upcoming Olympic Games.

In January and February, domestic air conditioner sales soared to 4.07 million units, up 41.4 percent year-on-year. It's been estimated that the Games would help drive up domestic air conditioner sales 18 percent this year. Also, the stronger yuan and barriers to some foreign markets meant that Chinese air conditioner makers were emphasizing domestic sales with stepped-up design and marketing efforts.

Wang Youning, an executive of the leading home appliance maker Haier, said: "Our company has tried to raise sales by brand building, expanding sales channels and utilizing Olympics-related opportunities."

However, industry observers expressed concern about whether exports of air conditioners could remain strong, given rising raw material and labor costs and the appreciation of the yuan.

(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2008)

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