Midea deals to push it up the value chain

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A customer looks at Midea's energy-efficient air conditioners at a store in Beijing. [Photo/China Daily]

The acquisition of a number of international intelligent automation solution makers will help develop new business growth for Midea Group, a traditional home appliance maker based in Guangdong province, according to a senior company executive.

Gu Yanmin, vice-president of Midea, said the overseas acquisitions had helped expand its business to new industrial areas, amid intensified competition in the domestic home appliances market.

"We are now more likely to identify ourselves as a leading technology company, not only in home appliances and heating and ventilation, but also as a robotics and automation solution provider," Gu said on Wednesday, ahead of the annual Appliance & Electronics World Expo in Shanghai.

In a series of recent international acquisitions, Midea, based in the manufacturing hub of Foshan, took a majority of stake in German robotics manufacturer Kuka AG last year and bought more than a 50 percent stake in Israeli motion solution provider Servotronix Motion Control Ltd earlier this year.

"Midea has rich experience in the integration of its industrial chain, participating in the robotics industry in a comprehensive manner over many years," said Gu.

"We have been seeking another growth path beyond home appliances, changing our business model driven by mass production at low cost to scientific and technological innovation," said Gu.

In addition to the acquisition of Kuka and Servotronix, Midea also took a large stake in Italian air conditioning maker Clivet SpA and an 80 percent stake in Japanese home appliance manufacturer Toshiba Corp's white goods business last year.

The Chinese company denied on Wednesday that it would buy the semiconductor unit of Toshiba, after Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported that Midea is interested in investing in Toshiba's semiconductor business.

Midea said it currently has no plans to buy Toshiba's semiconductor unit.

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