Japanese home appliances fall to the altar

On November 22, Panasonic, a Japanese home appliance brand, held an investor briefing and proposed a new strategy to strengthen its overseas business. President Shinada Masahiro said that by 2023, the proportion of domestic sales in Japan is expected to be reduced to 35%-40%, and the current proportion exceeds 50%. Among the many overseas markets, Masahiro Pinata focused on China, India, and Europe, and plans to "increase the proportion of the Chinese market to a level close to 20%".

As the first batch of Japanese home appliance brands to enter China, Panasonic has been working in the Chinese market for many years and was once brilliant. However, according to the latest statistics from Aoweiyun.com, as of the first half of this year, Panasonic's market share in China's air-conditioning market was less than 0.3%, and it became a complete marginal player.

Together with Panasonic, Japanese brands such as Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sharp, and Sony were frustrated in the Chinese market.

Once upon a time, Japanese home appliance brands were the guarantee of quality and the favorite of consumers, and they had achieved a series of impressive achievements. But now that times have changed, the impression left by Japanese brands on the Chinese people is only the declining sales, the selling and retreat of one company after another, and many controversies in word of mouth.

How did Japanese home appliances, which once dominated for a while, get to where they are today step by step? In the decline of Japanese brands and the rise of local brands, what principles have been taught to the market?

In order to answer these questions, we may need to seriously review the history of the rise and fall of Japanese home appliance brands in China.

Twenty glorious years: technology is the strongest moat

The relationship between Japanese home appliance brands and the Chinese market can be traced back to 1978 - the first year of reform and opening up.

In October 1978, Konosuke Matsushita, who was 78 years old at the time, went to the Osaka factory to welcome the Chinese delegation to Japan. This is the first time that a senior Chinese representative has been invited to visit Japan after the normalization of relations between China and Japan.

According to Japanese media reports that year, Chinese representatives visited the production lines of TVs, fax machines, video recorders, and other products at the Panasonic factory. The modern production process and strict quality inspection system of Japanese companies left a deep impression on the Chinese side. It is reported that the Chinese representative left a sentence to Konosuke Matsushita:

Can Mr. Matsushita help with China's modernization?

According to the political climate at that time, Konosuke Matsushita knew very well that the remarks of the Chinese delegation had opened the door for Panasonic to enter the Chinese market. The following year, Konosuke Matsushita visited China and signed the "Technical Cooperation No. 1" agreement with the government to provide black and white picture tube equipment for Shanghai Light Bulb Factory, which officially opened the prelude to the cooperation between the two parties.

In the late 1980s, Panasonic established Panasonic Color Picture Tube Co., Ltd. in Beijing with an investment of 24.8 billion yen. The company was the largest Sino-Japanese joint venture of that era, and Panasonic also became the first foreign home appliance brand to build a factory in China. After the production line was fully completed, Panasonic's color TVs, air conditioners, and other products quickly became popular all over the country, becoming the first generation of Japanese home appliances to explode.

Driven by the big brother Panasonic, Japanese brands such as Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, and Sharp flocked to the market, blowing a violent Japanese style in the Chinese home appliance market.

Hitachi, which landed in Hong Kong as early as 1965, has a lot of contact with the Chinese mainland market and responds most quickly to policy changes. Almost at the same time that Panasonic and the Chinese government signed a cooperation agreement, Hitachi announced the establishment of the China Export Office and Beijing Office and established Fujian Hitachi TV Co., Ltd. in 1981, sounding the clarion call to fully enter the Chinese market.

Soon after, Hitachi's Shenzhen color display device factory and Shanghai air-conditioning service center were established one after another, and color TVs, air conditioners, and other products began to occupy major shopping malls.

In the 1990s, Toshiba officially established a color TV production line in China, and Panasonic and Hitachi ushered in a heavy opponent.

At that time, Toshiba was the benchmark of the Japanese technology industry and the largest semiconductor company. It produced the first transistor TV, the first refrigerator, and the first DVD player in Japan, and its technical strength was quite strong. After entering the Chinese market, Toshiba has also set its sights on the popular categories of color TVs, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

Also focusing on the color TV track is Sharp, which has a highly vertical product line. At that time, Sharp was the "nail house" at the top of the domestic TV sales list in Japan, and once occupied the championship for 17 years. The 1980s also coincided with the rise of national income and the country’s relaxation of restrictions on imported color TVs. The demand for color TVs exploded in an all-around way, providing opportunities for the growth of Japanese brands.

Compared with local brands such as Changhong, which were struggling at the time, the biggest advantage of Japanese brands lies in two words-technology.

As early as 1955, Tokyo Communication Industry Corporation, the predecessor of Sony, developed the world's first radio using semiconductor technology. Under the promotion of Sony founder Akio Morita, Japanese home appliance companies realized the importance of semiconductor technology to home appliance production and devoted themselves to research and development.

Take the color TV industry as an example. At its peak, Japanese companies owned 90% of the world's color TV technology patents, and almost monopolized core components such as color picture tubes. The "Trinitron" picture tube developed by Sony once dominated the global market for more than 40 years. It was not until the popularization of liquid crystal technology around 2008 that it withdrew from the stage of history.

In addition, after the establishment of branches and production lines in China and the localization of production, the transportation and labor costs of Japanese brands have been greatly reduced, which also provides them with room for price cuts.

Statistics show that the average price of black and white TVs in Japan has been declining since the 1980s until they were finally replaced by color TVs. The average price of CRT color TVs, which became the new mainstream, also declined at an accelerated rate in the late 1980s. After entering the Chinese market, this cost-effective advantage has also continued.

When Japanese home appliance brands entered China, the Chinese home appliance industry was still in its early stages of development, and various technologies were immature. For example, color picture tubes, the most important components of color TVs, all need to be imported from abroad. Expensive imported parts and inexperienced production lines pushed up the price of domestic color TVs. On the contrary, Japanese brands that have mastered core technologies and mature production lines have impressed the Chinese people in terms of quality and cost performance.

Konosuke Matsushita once said that the responsibility of an enterprise is to make things that the public need as cheap as tap water. With the help of standardized production processes and super high sales, Japanese home appliance brands have effectively diluted production and operating costs, and benefit consumption By.

According to the historical data of Guotai Junan Securities, during the ten years from 1990 to 2000, the sales volume and market share of Japanese brands reached a historical peak. During this period, a large number of local small and medium-sized brands were facing elimination, and big brands such as Midea, Changhong, and Haier were also falling behind in the competition. Japanese brands were hard to come by.

Among them, as of 2000, the domestic refrigerator market concentration rate reached 64.34%, the washing machine market was 58%, and the CR4 of color TV, air conditioner, and other categories were also at a relatively high level. Of course, the top rankings are all Japanese brands without exception.

However, there is no eternal winner in the market, and this law is very suitable for any industry. Counting from the entry into China in the late 1970s, Japanese home appliance brands have dominated the Chinese market for more than two decades, and have finally come to the point of changing the dynasty.

And like many previous cases, the dynasty was overthrown, and both internal illnesses and external challenges were indispensable.

The root cause of the decline: quality decline, strategic mistakes, opponents' efforts

At the beginning of the new century, although the dominance of Japanese home appliances has been weakened, there are still a group of loyal fans. Brands such as Panasonic and Sharp are going to decline in an all-around way, and we have to start with the multiple critical attacks suffered internally and externally.

The overall decline in quality and service

The first challenge comes from the dissatisfaction of users, and the spearhead is directed at the two core selling points of Japanese home appliance brands - product quality and after-sales service.

In the early days of entering China, most Japanese home appliance brands followed the direct sales model. The R&D team was basically concentrated in Japan, and the Chinese production line was only responsible for downstream links such as assembly and sales. However, in the 1980s and 1990s, with the surge in demand for national electrical appliances and the rapid expansion of the production scale of home appliances, the management model that the headquarters had too much say, the response speed of production lines in China was lagging behind, and the operating costs were too high was no longer applicable.

The only solution is to localize the production line: not only the front-line assembly workers, but also the technical personnel are fully localized, and part of the after-sales and quality inspection work is handed over to a third-party team to reduce operating costs and asset burdens. However, decisions involving the strategic level still require instructions from the headquarters.

But in this way, the differences between the headquarters and the branches began to intensify, and the product quality and after-sales service could not be completely controlled by the headquarters, and gradually deviated from the original track. Especially after entering the 21st century, domestic consumers' awareness of rights protection continues to increase, the gradual popularization of the Internet provides a way to speak out, and there are more quality complaints against various home appliance brands.

According to public information, Panasonic recalled 970,000 food processors and over 10,000 TVs due to quality problems from 2000 to 2015, and one of its air purifiers was listed on CCTV’s Quality Black List because its parameters and functions did not match the actual situation. list. Even the Let's Note line of laptops released in 2011 caught fire due to battery charge issues, resulting in a worldwide recall of nearly 2 million units.

Japanese home appliance brands, which rely on quality to win, have also lost their reputation due to multiple large-scale recalls, causing irreparable damage to their brand image. And to this day, the after-sales service quality of Japanese home appliance brands has not improved significantly. Looking through various social platforms, you can find a lot of bad reviews.

There is a question on Zhihu published in 2017, "Why is Panasonic's after-sales service so good?", which aroused the resonance of many netizens. The respondent "more or less" said that Panasonic's after-sales service "can be given up directly". The battery of the cordless vacuum cleaner just bought for three months was scrapped, but the after-sales customer service said that the parts could not be replaced, only the whole machine could be replaced. In addition, complaints about the after-sales and maintenance services of major appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators also emerge in endlessly.

The transformation plan has repeatedly suffered setbacks

What is even more embarrassing is that in the face of challenges such as declining share and questioned quality, Japanese home appliance brands did not choose to face the difficulties, but turned around and opened up new businesses and new markets. However, giving up the core position of home appliances prematurely and mistakenly betting on new businesses such as nuclear power and semiconductors not only completely abandoned them in the Chinese market, but also directly shook their own foundations.

Toshiba officially entered the nuclear power industry when it acquired Westinghouse Electric in the United States in 2006. Mitsubishi and Hitachi also participated in the bidding at that time. The final transaction price of this acquisition was as high as 5.4 billion US dollars, which was nearly three times the valuation premium of Westinghouse Electric at that time.

Toshiba's transition to the nuclear power industry was called upon by the Japanese government. However, the Fukushima nuclear leak in 2011 directly brought the entire industry into a trough. The debt ratio of Westinghouse Electric, which was acquired at a high price, soared in the following years. Toshiba itself also broke out in a $1.9 billion financial fraud scandal in 2016. This transformation can be said to have died before it started.

Similarly, there is Sharp, which makes mobile phones, and Panasonic, which makes semiconductors and plasmas, and so on. The only successful transformation is Sony, which is betting on the consumer electronics industry.

The continuous decline in quality and after-sales service has a lot to do with the reuse of third-party foundries by Japanese home appliance brands in the later stage. According to Japanese media reports, due to the continuous shrinking of the home appliance business line, Hitachi explored the idea of ​​entrusting the overseas white goods business to external production as early as 2010, while the local production line focused on the production of industrial products such as elevators.

Because of poor performance, cost control and investment in production lines and after-sales service should be reduced; because of unstable quality and poor after-sales service, sales of home appliances continue to decline... Japanese brands have come to a dead end in this way, and what lies ahead of them is an unresolved endless loop.

After the transformation failed, a more serious financial crisis began to strike. In 2013, Panasonic reorganized its business lines and sold off its core assets: the plasma TV factory directly announced the closure, sold the Chinese TV business and shifted its focus to B2B fields such as vehicles and components. Hitachi adjusted its focus to the industrial field and focused on the elevator business. After that, the Japanese home appliance brands are no longer successful, and the decline is irreversible.

The rapid rise of competitors

At this time, the third and final challenge that completely crushed Japanese brands also appeared the rise of external competitors.

After the reform and opening up and joining the WTO, China's import and export trade exploded. Korean home appliances such as Samsung and LG, as well as European and American brands represented by Siemens, Philips, and Whirlpool, came to China at the end of the last century and the beginning of the 21st century. market. In the first decade of the 21st century, Japanese brands were in decline, and Korean, European, and American home appliance brands briefly became dominant during this period.

Siemens seized the high-end market with refrigerators, washing machines, and three-piece kitchen appliances, while Whirlpool brought new products such as household water purifiers and drum-type washing machines. Compared with the small profits and quick sales of Japanese brands, Korean, European, and American brands focus their firepower on the high-end market. This strategy is also in line with the trend of the times when China's national economy is taking off and the consumption of home appliances is upgrading, and it has defeated Japanese brands for a while.

When the old master abdicates, there will naturally be a new king. This is an unchanging law in the business world. Japanese, Korean, European, and American brands all had a moment of glory, but they did not continue their dominance.

After the abdication of foreign brands such as Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States, it is of course time for local brands to take over.

The Rise of Local Brands: Comprehensive Upgrades in Technology, Capital, and Production Lines

When Japanese brands entered China in an all-around way, how did local brands develop?

We can look at the dynamics of some representative companies: In 1980, a company called Mingzhu just produced the first metal table fan, which was the predecessor of Midea, the home appliance overlord in China; It was not until 1986 that the first production line was built...

A piece of "China Finance" magazine published in June 1981 recorded a set of data: In the whole year of 1980, there were only more than 2,000 home appliance factories in China, which produced a total of 7.25 million fans, 13,000 air conditioners and 49,000 air conditioners throughout the year. refrigerator. The production capacity of air conditioners and refrigerators is even a fraction of that of Japanese brands.

There is no doubt that Chinese local brands at this time do not have the strength to compete with Japanese brands. The stumbling blocks hindering the early development of China's home appliance industry, one is capital, and the other is technology - and these defects are precisely the advantages of Japanese home appliance brands.

In this context, local brands did not expect a miracle, and once they achieved corner overtaking. The ultimate achievement of transcendence depends on decades of accumulation and accurate capture of the development trend of the times.

Introduce advanced technology and accumulate production experience

Accumulating technology and production experience in a down-to-earth manner is the correct decision for local brands. When Japanese home appliance companies entered the Chinese market on a large scale in the 1980s, local brands also seized the opportunity to establish a cooperative relationship with the former and introduce their advanced technologies and production lines.

For example, Midea introduced air-conditioning compressor technology from Toshiba, Galanz’s first microwave oven production line was also established with the help of this Japanese manufacturer; Changhong embraced Panasonic’s thigh and established a joint laboratory, and Hisense also purchased from Panasonic. A batch of 14-inch color TV production equipment.

It is undeniable that Japanese brands have played a vital role in the growth of Chinese brands. The cooperation during this period in the 1980s laid the foundation for R&D and production for local home appliance companies, which is of great significance for future development.

Accumulate all kinds of resources to enhance capital strength

At the beginning of the new century, local brands have come to a crucial reform window. First came, an unprecedented wave of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2004, Gree Electric completed the acquisition of four subsidiaries of Gree Group, Lingda Compressor Co., Ltd., Gree Xinyuan Electronics Co., Ltd., Gree Electric Co., Ltd., and Gree Small Appliances Co., Ltd.; also in 2004, Midea First, it took over Hualing, and then took a 50.5% stake in the joint venture company Royalstar Maytag to fully expand the business lines of air conditioners and refrigerators; R & D team……

There were many mergers and acquisitions like this in that period. Through eclecticism and consolidating their own strength, a number of local brands such as Midea, Gree, Hisense, and Changhong have taken advantage of the trend and gradually replaced Japanese and Korean brands to become the rulers of China's home appliance market.

3. Brand positioning and production line upgrade

After all the conditions are mature, the upgrading of the production line, brand concept and product design will be a matter of course.

As we all know, the manufacturing industry is now setting off a digital and intelligent revolution, comprehensively upgrading all links from procurement, production, logistics to after-sales. But don’t forget that Midea, Haier and other home appliance companies were the first to use digital production lines and supply chains.

As early as 2012, Midea announced the construction of an automated factory and purchased a large number of automated equipment, including robotic arms, from foreign countries. At Midea's 30th anniversary celebration in 2015, Wu Wenxin, then president of Midea's air-conditioning division, said that Midea would invest 5 billion yuan in the next five years to continue upgrading its production lines to achieve complete automation, intelligence and informatization.

"Whether it is product upgrading or management upgrading, it must be completed through automation," Wu Wenxin described the strategic significance of automation for Midea. In that year, the revenue of Midea’s air-conditioning business increased by nearly 40% year-on-year to 70 billion yuan, and the number of employees dropped sharply from 50,000 to 26,000. By 2018, the number of employees in this business line had dropped to about 20,000, and the performance continued to rise.

Simultaneously with the upgrade of the production line, there is also brand positioning. Gree's slogan of "good air conditioner made by Gree" is deeply rooted in the body and mind, while Haier puts on itself the shining label of "Made in China". Through brand upgrades and rapid product updates, local brands have gradually wiped out the entry-level market that originally belonged to Japanese brands and the high-end market of European and American brands.

According to the historical data of CICC, as of 2012, Japanese brands accounted for only 23%, 20%, 12%, and 4% of the retail market for color TVs, washing machines, air conditioners, and refrigerators respectively, completely falling from the throne. Instead, Gree and Midea, which collectively occupy half of the air-conditioning market, Haier, which has become the overlord of the refrigerator industry, and local brands such as TCL and Changhong, which are advancing in the color TV market.

The outcome is decided, and Chinese local brands have begun to fully reap the fruits of victory in recent years' acquisition of the Chinese business of Japanese home appliance brands.

Toshiba is the most thoroughly sold Japanese home appliance brand, not even one of them.

In 2016, 80.1% of Toshiba's white goods business was sold to Midea at a price of 52.7 billion yen. The latter also obtained Toshiba's 40-year brand authorization and more than 5,000 patents, as well as production lines and offline agents around the world. In the following year, Toshiba's TV business in China was sold independently to Hisense, and its most proud PC business was sold to Sharp, basically completely withdrawing from the Chinese market.

In 2016, Sharp, another veteran player, was acquired by Hon Hai for 388.8 billion yen, and the management rights and ownership were completely changed. So far, Japanese home appliance brands that have either shrunk their business, sold themselves to Chinese-funded enterprises, or completely withdrawn from the Chinese market seem to have completely disappeared from our field of vision.

However, there will never be a lack of competition in a commercial society, and no businessman will let go of the profits that are visible to the naked eye. Although the Chinese home appliance market has long since become a red sea, it still has its full potential compared to Japan.

Japanese brands that have been dormant for many years may just be waiting for a suitable opportunity, a new opportunity that can bring them back to their peak.

Future pattern: Can Japanese brands make a comeback?

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Panasonic is plotting to make a comeback, and many Japanese brands have never completely given up their plans for the Chinese market.

Among them, Panasonic mentioned at the beginning of the article has the deepest relationship with the Chinese market, and is also the most reluctant to part with this big piece of fat.

In December 2019, Panasonic signed a contract to build a factory in Jiaxing, Zhejiang. Not long before this, Panasonic was just reported to sell the Suzhou factory. Spending huge sums of money to build a new factory is undoubtedly the best way for Panasonic to respond to outside doubts and stabilize the sentiment of shareholders and consumers. It also shows once again that Panasonic will not give up the Chinese market easily.

However, with this comeback, Panasonic’s strategy has also undergone some changes: it no longer focuses on traditional large appliances, but instead focuses on the small home appliance track that has become popular in recent years.

Matsushita Electric China Co., Ltd., established in 2017, focuses on the development of a small home appliance business. Among them, the fastest-growing rice cooker brand once squeezed into the TOP 5 sales list in the Chinese market, fighting a long-lost turnaround for Panasonic.

Compared with Panasonic, which still maintains pure Japanese blood, Sharp, which has long been sold to Hon Hai, has changed ownership, but the stigma of the Japanese brand has not been eliminated. In the matter of regaining the lost ground in the Chinese market, Sharp also aimed at a hotter outlet-smart home.

Sharp released a high-end home appliance business development strategy in April this year, announcing its full commitment to the smart home industry. According to the plan, Sharp's goal is to increase the sales of smart home appliances in Japan to 70% by 2024 and to increase the sales of overseas markets to more than 50%. It also focuses on several markets such as mainland China and the United States. .

In the Chinese market, Sharp proposed the "8K+AIoT" strategy as early as 2019 to create a smart Internet of Things. At present, Sharp's intelligent IoT system has covered more than 330 products such as TVs, mobile phones, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners, and the product matrix cannot be underestimated. A few days ago, Sharp also established a comprehensive cooperation with Shenzhen Anlitong Smart, authorizing the latter to act as an agent for the sales and other services of Sharp smart locks in the Chinese market.

However, have these attempts been successful?

No one dares to guarantee what will happen in the future. But the only thing that is certain now is that when the time comes in 2022, the pattern of local brands playing the leading role and Japanese brands serving as the foil remains unchanged.

Take the core category of air conditioners as an example. According to data from Aoweiyun.com, the top 10 sales in the first half of this year are all local brands, accounting for more than 90% of the total. Among them, Gree, Midea, and Haier, the top three giants, occupy 70% of the market share, and their dominance is unbreakable.

Among Japanese brands, hardcore player Panasonic has only 0.27% of the offline market, and only 0.57% online, which is far from its peak. In addition to Panasonic, only Daikin and Hitachi, which are based in the high-end market, still retain their strength in the first battle. The latter's market share in refined air conditioners increased by 2.7% year-on-year, saving the last bit of face for Japanese high-end brands.

In addition, the tracks of high-end home appliances, small home appliances, and smart homes, which are regarded by Japanese brands as hope for a turnaround, are also crowded with local Chinese brands. In this wave of transformation trends, the faltering Japanese brands once again missed out. a first-mover opportunity.

In the field of smart homes, in the same year that Sharp proposed the "8K+AIoT" strategy, Midea has already proposed the goal of "connecting 100 million devices in three years", and launched Smart Touch, the industry's first full-link near-field communication technology application for home appliances. , Open up many smart home devices such as smart curtains, air conditioners, sweeping robots, and TVs.

In the high-end market, according to CMM data, Haier's Casarte and Gree took turns to top the sales list of high-end air conditioners, leaving Japanese brands such as Mitsubishi and Daikin far behind. As of the end of last year, Chinese local brands accounted for more than 80% of the ultra-high-end cabinet air conditioner market worth more than RMB 15,000. With less than 20% of the market share remaining, Japanese brands have to compete with Korean and American brands.

Although we cannot predict the future of Japanese brands, the facts in front of us prove that their era has really passed.

It's not easy to make a comeback.

The Enlightenment of Decline: Don't be complacent and blindly arrogant

Having entered China for more than 40 years, Japanese brands have had glory along the way, and have also fallen to the bottom. Now they are trying to bottom out and rebound. Its development history is embarrassing but more worthy of vigilance. From the perspective of the development history of Japanese brands in China, ignorance of user needs, slow response to market changes, and gradual loss of innovation capabilities are the root of all problems.

Whether it is the loopholes in the after-sales service mentioned above, or the extremely poor crisis public relations in the past large-scale recalls, they all reveal the arrogance of Japanese home appliance brands and lead to the continuous deterioration of the relationship between merchants and consumers.

In 2008 and 2010, Toshiba's washing machines and all-in-one washer-dryers were repeatedly recalled on a large scale, including more than 30 models produced since 2005, involving more than 580,000 units. However, in these several incidents, the products sold in the mainland China market were not recalled immediately.

Toshiba explained that the washing machine model involved was not sold in mainland China, but was subsequently questioned by the media and consumers.

In late 2010, Toshiba recalled 14,000 laptops with quality defects in Japan, also ignoring the Chinese market. This time, Toshiba did not escape the eyes of consumers: the official website information shows that the recalled notebook computers were launched simultaneously in the Chinese mainland market and the Japanese market, and the product parameters and designs of the products sold were exactly the same.

And this time Toshiba gave the answer: it has not received complaints from consumers in mainland China, so the recall process has not been initiated. Similar situations have been repeated again and again in Sanyo's recall of dishwashers, washing machines, and other products.

No matter how to make up for it in the future, the image of Japanese home appliance brands such as Toshiba and Panasonic in the Chinese market has fallen to the bottom, and it is difficult for consumers to regain trust.

As for the lack of innovation ability and lagging response speed, it is vividly reflected in a series of operations such as untimely transformation and superstitious traditional big appliances missing the timing of small appliances and smart home entry.

As the new rulers of the market, local brands and Japanese brands are mirror images of each other in terms of innovation ability, ability to capture the trend of the times, and insight into user needs.

Zhang Ruimin pointed out in 2007 that if Haier wants to become the number one in the world, its essential competitor is only itself. We have to take a completely different path from Whirlpool and Panasonic. Only by taking a path different from theirs, that is, the path of innovation, can we catch up with these competitors.

Haier is the first home appliance company in the world to launch an industrial Internet platform. Its COSMOPlat platform realizes the combination of users' individual needs and assembly line production, increasing production efficiency by 60%. The system was launched in 2012, earlier than Panasonic, Sharp, Hitachi, and other brands' planned transformation.

After-sales service and sales channels: local brands have suffered a lot in the past, but they have never given up on communicating with users, and they have achieved today's results through stumbles.

Taking Midea as an example, the after-sales service system of air conditioners alone has completed many large-scale reforms in the past two decades. From the initial service provided by Neusoft to the large-scale construction of offline outlets, and then to the launch of the headquarters-sub-center-outlet three-level after-sales system and a series of online auxiliary systems, it has become more convenient for users to apply for after-sales services, and the operating efficiency of enterprises has also improved. get promoted.

Use history as a mirror to understand gains and losses. The lessons brought about by the decline of Japanese brands are naturally worthy of the attention of local brands.

In October last year, Toshiba Dalian Co., Ltd., which has a history of 30 years, officially announced the suspension of production and liquidation. Toshiba stated in the announcement that the medical equipment and other businesses of the Dalian factory were also sold, and all production lines were shut down one after another at the end of September.

Toshiba is not the first, and I believe it will not be the last Japanese brand to completely withdraw from the Chinese market. Brands that still have ambitions for the Chinese market, such as Panasonic, are actively helping themselves. But more brands can only be struggling to support and do a death struggle.

In any case, the decline of Japanese home appliance brands has become a fact, and it will be difficult to restore their former glory. However, the process of Japanese brands from rising to decline has left valuable experience and lessons for the industry, which are worth learning from or warning to other peers.

Today, local brands still firmly occupy the dominant position in China's home appliance market, but there are lessons learned from Japanese brands, so we must not take it lightly. Only by always maintaining the ability to innovate, keep up with the development trend of the times, and at the same time keep abreast of user needs, can local brands have a truly bright future.

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