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Haier to re-enter British AC market

Chinese air conditioning giant Haier plans to re-enter the UK market with a direct presence from February 2009.

The company has been absent from the UK since a joint venture closed in 2006.

Haier has vowed to improve the company’s damaged reputation, and then “fully intends to upset the status quo” in UK air conditioning.

Christian Weavers, sales director and head of the new Haier UK and Ireland team said: “We’ve no intention of penetrating into the UK market until confidence is established and potential clients are fully satisfied that Haier represents a cost-effective alternative.

“We’re under no illusions as to the scale of the task ahead. We’re aware that product reliability and the closure in 2006 of Haier’s initial UK joint venture left many of our customers with an unacceptable lack of support.”

In a bid to address this, Haier has said it will resolve service and backup issues with former joint venture clients, as well as honouring all outstanding warranties.

The company has also established a warehouse in the South East, which stocks spares for all existing equipment, to increase support for customers.

In addition, Haier has partnered with London and Nottingham-based contractors (trained on Haier equipment) who can offer technical support and service.

In a further move to address reliability issues, Haier systems now operate on R410A DC inverter technology. Dependent on the model, the majority of compressors in current Haier systems are now manufactured by Daikin, Mitsubishi or Hitachi.

The company is also opening an engineer training centre, with installed split, multi-split and VRF systems. Located in Wickford, Essex, the centre will be fully operational by the end of the year.

Key team members for Haier include Mr Weavers, who has worked for Denco and both Toshiba and a Hitachi distributorship. Technical manager is Peter Francis, who has owned an air conditioning contracting company, and worked as installation / contracting manager for Denco.

Haier is the fourth largest home appliances manufacturer in the world and earns revenues close to US$14 billion per annum.