Date
29 March 2017
Innovation is the key for China's manufacturers as the old copycat business model won't pay dividends in the future.
Innovation is the key for China's manufacturers as the old copycat business model won't pay dividends in the future.

Can Gree walk its talk?

Chinese appliance maker Gree had earlier launched a top-end rice cooker in a bid to challenge high-priced Japanese imports. The company wanted to show mainland customers, who have been flocking to Japan to buy the latest appliances and gadgets, that China-made products can be just as good.

Gree recently restated its mission to focus on research and development in order to create its own core technology.

“Only by creating own technology can an enterprise develop a solid footing,” said Dong Mingzhu, the Chinese company’s outspoken president. 

“We need to build up our technological reserve and our talent pool step by step,” she said. “That is the only way for our country to get its pride back.”

Dong said the next five years will be the golden period for “smart” appliances. Gree wants to become more diversified in order to tap numerous new opportunities.

The company is also in the process of completing a due diligence on new-energy player Yinlong, which specializes in Lithium-ion batteries and is poised to launch a new product line targeted at the electric car industry.

If more Chinese firms follow Gree’s lead, evolve from the copycat business model and build their own intellectual property, China will stand a better chance of becoming a true manufacturing power.

As for Gree itself, we need to see if the company will be able to back up all its claims with solid action and deliver concrete results.

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RC

EJ Insight writer

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