Refrigeration in China has been a very dynamic market from early 2010 until today, with "expansions, expansions, expansions," said Wong Lee Meng, managing director of Cannon Far East. All the top domestic fridge makers, Haier, Hisense, Meiling and Midea, for example, have been growing rapidly, Wong added.
Picking out Haier Group, Wong said "they are everywhere," - investing in Shenyang, in the south in Foshan, in the west in Chongqing, in Hefei. "And every facility is two-million capacity," he said.
But he feels there may now be over capacity, with some consolidation ahead.
Wong also noted that the "refrigeration boom is partially because of the subsidy programme," as is the huge automotive growth.
Wong put the fridge market in China in 2010 at about 67 million, some 20 percent of which, or 18 million, are for export, with a freezer market of something like 17 million.
Some OEMs, one notable Japanese one, get all their appliances made in China and simply put their own name on them, Wong claimed.
Not surprisingly, automotive and appliances are also major outlets in China for another PU machinery supplier, Hennecke, which has just opened a new, larger Shanghai plant (see p23).
China's polyurethanes business may not have the 20 percent annual growth that was common in recent years, said Chan, but Hennecke still expects automotive and appliance to grow at 5-15 percent a year, with the high-quality ends of both these sectors growing at a much faster pace.
In the fridge market, Chan said, most Chinese households have a 200-litre capacity appliance, but soon 300 - 500 litre ones will become more common, and also the fridge market will become much more energy efficient, with help from new technology from their suppliers, he said.