Made In China
HWM Singapore|June 2019

If you still think Chinese made goods are inferior to those made in the United States or Europe, it’s time for a rethink. Those “European” goods might actually be Chinese-made after all, thanks to recent Chinese investment sprees.

Marcus Wong

Metz, Hisense Groenje, and General Electric. If you were asked what these three Western consumer electronics brands had in common, how many of you would have guessed that they’re all now owned by Chinese companies?

But it’s true. Hisense upped their share of Slovenia’s Groenje to over 95% in May 2017, acquiring a massive 62.5% of the company to go with the 33% stake it already held. Likewise, Metz was acquired by Skyworth in 2015, giving it high-end consumer goods such as washing machines, water purifiers and air conditioners to go with its stable of LED TVs.

As for Qingdao Haier, you may know it to be a Chinese refrigerator company, but did you know they own General Electrics’ Appliances division? That in itself is an interesting tale of reversal of fortunes, as General Electric once tried to takeover Haier in the early nineties, only to have their offer refused. (Haier later bought over General Electrics’ Appliances division in 2016 for US$ 5.6 billion.)

NOT A NEW PHENOMENON

At the recent IFA Global Press Conference 2019 in Andalusia, Spain, six companies took to stage on the first day to present their upcoming innovations for the year – Philips, TCL, Haier, Metz, Safera and Hisense Gorenje. All the speakers representing their companies were undoubtedly European, presenting from the perspective of a European company, but the bulk of them (four) were really Chinese owned, which really shouldn’t be that surprising considering how Chinese political and corporate leaders have been buying into companies across the world for the good part of the last decade.

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