Interview: Beko to "showcase" innovations, new technologies at China's first import expo: Turkish CEO

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-14 17:40:03|Editor: Li Xia
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Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO of Arcelik, Beko's parent company, speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/He Canling)

ISTANBUL, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- As a global home appliance and consumer electronics brand, Beko is seeking to take advantage of the upcoming 2018 China International Import Expo in Shanghai to "showcase" its innovations and new technologies, said a senior executive of the Turkish company.

"The Chinese consumer demands very high-end products, demands design and demands technology," Hakan Bulgurlu, CEO of Arcelik, Beko's parent company, told Xinhua at the headquarters of the companies in Istanbul.

As a case in point, he referred to about 25 percent of all appliances sold in China as connected ones.

"Whereas in the rest of the world this number is 3-4 percent, much much lower," he said. "This shows that the Chinese consumer is actually aspirational and is very willing to try new technology."

The Shanghai expo slated for Nov. 5-10, the first of its kind ever hosted in China on a state level, marks the shift in China's economic development model from export-oriented to balancing import and export, while expanding import means more opportunities for foreign products and new technologies.

"For us, the Chinese market is incredibly important in testing all our intellectual property, our innovations and our new technological advances in products," said Bulgurlu.

Arcelik is part of Koc Holding, Turkey's biggest industrial and commercial conglomerate and one of the top 500 companies in the world.

Beko has been operating in China since 2007, where it has a research, development and design center as well as a factory. As a premium brand, Beko brings to the Chinese market products with special features, such as much larger capacity and space, and fridges that keep vegetables and fruits fresh up to 30 days and detect whether meat is consumable.

"So we see the fair in Shanghai as a showcase to actually share these technologies that we are bringing and specifically developing for China," the CEO remarked.

He said Beko has benefited "hugely" from the opening up in China.

"It is not from a market perspective because we are still quite small in China," Bulgurlu explained. "Our main benefit has been that China has developed so fast because of this policy. It has become a technology producer and a design leader."

"As it has moved up the value chain and develops its own technology, it is a place to do research, a place to do value-added manufacturing, and of course, the market itself is very very interesting because the consumer base is growing very fast," he added.

The senior executive described Beko as "the most successful international brand in China," where almost all Beko products are imported while its products made in the Chinese factory are exported to about 50 countries.

He sees a growing potential for dishwashers in China, as water has become a big problem all over the world, especially in China.

In his view, per dish wash by hand takes about 110 to 150 liters of water in China, whereas a Beko dishwasher needs as little as five or six liters.

Bulgurlu is "very happy" with Beko's development in China, noting that his company is aiming to expand to more Chinese cities in the coming years.

"We are one of the global leaders in dishwashers and we are investing heavily in a Chinese version of dishwasher," he said.

"It has Chinese characteristics and more user-friendly to Chinese consumers. We expect that area to grow very very quickly," the Turkish CEO added.

He also expects China's economy to continue to grow "at a dramatic rate."

"If it is not 7.5 percent, it is 6 percent. It is still very high when compared with the rest of the world's economies," he said.

"In today's world, I still think that the Chinese market is going to grow. I think it will continue to change to more premium. This is something that will benefit us because we are more in the premium end of the market," Bulgurlu added.

Beko is increasingly working with technology firms in China which are developing newer functions, features in the appliance business, especially on Internet of Things.

"We're cooperating with many Chinese firms. In the future, we plan to cooperate with some Chinese firms in solar energy, battery storage technology," the Turkish CEO concluded.

KEY WORDS: Import Expo