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China's Electrical Appliances Stay in Demand
China's household electrical appliance industry is expected to experience steady growth in exports this year as global demand continues to rise.

The industry exported nearly US$7 billion worth of electrical products last year - a surge of 24.4 percent on the previous year, according to the China Household Electrical Appliance Association.

The country is in a good position to maintain such momentum in exports, given rising demand in the international market despite the global economic downturn, said Huo Dufang, chief of the association.

"The slowdown in the world economy may have dampened people's purchasing power, but is likely to drive them to choose products made in China, which are of good quality and inexpensive," Huo said.

Statistics indicate that 69 percent, or 12.52 million sets, of microwave ovens produced in China were exported last year, and more than half the electric cookers manufactured in 2001 were sold abroad.

"We predict that exports of China's household electrical appliance will exceed US$8 billion in 2002 - a growth of up to 20 percent - by taking into account the grim global position," Huo said.

Apart from exporting ready-made products to overseas market, more and more Chinese household electrical appliance producers have begun establishing organizations for product design, development and sales in destination countries.

This is expected to gather steam this year, Huo said.

After 20 years of development, China has become one of the best manufacturing places in the world, due to its competitive production costs and ever-improving skills of its relatively cheap workforce, Huo said.

Transnational enterprises are consequently shifting their production bases to China in order to maintain the competitive edge of their products in global and local markets, Huo said.

They will increase their purchasing from the Chinese market, Huo said.

Huo warned that prevailing "price wars" - in which enterprises rush to cut prices in order to promote sales and beat rivals - would tremendously affect the further growth of the industry.

Chen Guowei, a division director of the State Economic and Trade Commission, said China's household electrical appliance industry is growing into a mature development phase.

But he said the biggest hurdles in the way of Chinese products being exported abroad would be foreign technical barriers and those set up for the protection of the environment.

He urged Chinese businesses to pay great attention to overseas trade barriers and work out proper countermeasures.

(China Daily April 23, 2002)

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