Haier Europe demonstrates leadership in IoT and Connectivity
An exclusive Interview with Yannick Fierling, CEO of Haier Europe on the run up to IFA 2022
Household appliance giant Haier Europe has been able to grow consistently over the past few years by innovating where it matters. CEO of Haier Europe Yannick Fierling sat down with us to discuss the industry at large, the importance of the end consumer and the company’s presentation at IFA 2022.
How have you seen the household appliances industry fare in the first half of 2022?
First of all, we are just coming out of an incredible period with Covid and now we are facing a considerable increase in raw material inflation rates. Container costs have also been rising significantly in the last two years and now I think we are in the middle of a market contraction across Europe, the same contraction which we are seeing across the industry worldwide.
These have been three challenging years, but out of a crisis comes a lot of opportunity as well. I think the world has been rapidly changing, especially when it comes to topics like intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence or smart home – an amazing accelerator in terms of connectivity and getting our homes smarter.
How are you adapting to smart technology? What do you see the future bearing?
For Haier’s worldwide and regional branches, this is not something new. Our vision has always been to be the consumer’s first choice for smart homes, not only in the region, but across the globe, and we have received much recognition for that.
Today we have more than 40% market share for connected products, and this will rise to 100% of our products in the future. Our aim is really to move from selling a product to selling an experience to the end consumer. It is all about IoT, ecosystems and offering something which is very different from just washing your clothes or cleaning your dishes.
Many companies are looking at ways to reduce carbon footprint and become more sustainable. How are you tackling this at Haier?
Sustainability is one of our pillars, and like everybody else we are working on reducing our carbon footprint. We have plenty of KPIs to reach, with very clear goals in order to achieve carbon neutrality in the coming years. We are also looking at what sets our products apart. I think the fact that our appliances are connected offers great opportunities in terms of durability and reliability. Exactly like your phone for instance, we will be able to upgrade and update any software we have in our appliances, making them more durable in the future. We will also be able to predict failures for connectivity and run a diagnostic.
We have put forward a very strong agenda for 2030 in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. We have a full programme on it, and it is certainly one of the most important investment channels, because our environment is what is most precious to us all.
What role does IFA play for you?
Every single year since we have been participating in IFA, we have been growing our space. We have been trying to present different products and novelties, and we have been accelerating the pace of our launches. This year, under the concept of ‘Connect to Extraordinary’, our 3.700 square meter booth at IFA Berlin 2022 demonstrates our growth strategy and leadership in IoT and connectivity.
We have introduced what we are calling ‘Haier Europe Open Enterprise’ where we try to see ourselves as a brand of very reactive and flexible start-ups working with other start-ups, and trying to cooperate with a lot of third parties around us.
Focus on end consumer with “zero distance” philosophy
When asked about the strongest territories for demand of its products, Fierling was keen to emphasise the company’s focus on the end consumer rather than regional demand.
“In terms of focus, our thinking is not about territories, it is really about the end consumer. Thanks to our multi-brand strategy, and in line with our zero distance to consumers philosophy, we are able to understand customers’ needs and provide solutions tailored to their needs.”, Fierling said.
Colourful and connected product launches at IFA Berlin
Speaking at the Haier press conference last Thursday, Fierling highlighted several IFA product launches across all of the group’s brands – from the quirky Italian design of the “smallest washing machine on the market” – the Aquamatic by Candy – to the HF9 cordless stick vacuum cleaner range from Hoover. He also demonstrated how connectivity and efficiency are key to exceeding customer’s expectations. “A Haier washing machine with A-class efficiency, at a price point of €399, will pay back its full cost within five years through energy efficiency and connecting to the smart grid for lowest-tariff operation” he said.