Midea builds a research and innovation centre in Graz
Midea is an electrical equipment manufacturer, based in Shunde, Guangdong, China. The company employs more than 125,000 staff and workers in 21 production sites in China and overseas. Since July 2016, it has been listed as one of the global Fortune 500 companies. With a total annual turnover of over € 20 billion, Midea products cover a wide range of appliances for the kitchen, refrigeration, laundry and air-conditioning. With the formation of Midea Austria GmbH, the group is establishing an “R & D and Innovation Center Europe” in Graz, Austria. In line with its global technology strategy, world class R and D resources will be integrated into the Group, through this centre, with the objective of supplying the European market with industrial technology for the white goods sector, further strengthening the position of Midea in the European market and becoming a base for Midea in Europe. The R & D centre in Autal near Graz will contain both office and laboratory space as well as an exhibition area. It will be equipped with laboratories for electrical engineering, chemical and application technology, as well as other research areas, and amongst the core research themes there will be a focus on Innovation, Industry 4.0, and Smart Manufacturing. The objective is to improve the research and innovation capability in the white goods sector of refrigerators, washing machines, kitchen appliances and other core products, as well as conducting research and development in advanced compressor technology under the Midea Component Division GMCC. This should therefore not only improve international awareness of the brand and inject a new momentum into the European market, it will also promote the R & D strategy of establishing “World Class Technology Centers”. The group proactively seeks opportunities for global innovation and thereby improve its rate of innovation.
In 2016, Midea made several international acquisitions and mergers and entered into cooperation agreements with Toshiba, Clivet, Kuka, Servotronic and other brands to make use of synergies and overcome barriers to global technology transfer. Styria is a well-known centre for research and development in Europe, with highly trained specialists and an internationally respected network of technical universities as well as R & D partners. The innovation-friendly environment is supported by an excellent education system and also promoted by farseeing political action. The research and innovation centre in Autal, Laßnitzhöhe, with more than 800 m² of space for office and laboratory accommodation, will employ more than 30 R & D specialists. An initial investment of approximately € 2.5 million is being made in high technology equipment to fit out the laboratories.
With more than 60 subsidiaries and a large number of production sites throughout the world, growth within the Midea Group is thriving. The 2016 annual report of the Midea Group shows that the turnover of the overseas companies amounted to some € 8.5 billion in 2016, with an annual growth of 29.5%. As identified amongst industry experts, there will be three steps in the strategy for success in the white goods industry in the future. The first is the further development and transition from sales of products to sales of industry solutions. The second is the step from internationalisation of products to the internationalisation of research and development. The final strategic phase will be the transition from competitive stance to collaborative competition. After successfully completing the first step, the Midea Group is now taking advantage of the opportunity in internationalisation of R & D as part of a global strategy. It has already established research facilities in Louisville and Silicon Valley in the US, as well as in Japan and Italy, and will continue to set up further research centres in Germany and India as well as other countries. Based on the global market strategy, the provision of capital for science and technology innovation is unrivalled throughout the world, and the Midea Group is unlocking new doors in the sector, and creating a precisely defined competitive and business model for long-term success in international markets. The founding of Midea Austria represents another important step in this direction.