The global air conditioner industry has been enjoying growth for decades, mainly led by the emerging markets from China, India, Japan, and Brazil. The growing demand of air conditioners in these emerging markets is believed to be driven by the rising population with higher purchase power, rapid urbanization, development of infrastructure and global warming. China has been leading the way in the global air conditioner as a top manufacturer and exporter for decades, retaining its title as the world’s largest air conditioner market and number one air conditioner supplier. It’s expected that the air conditioner industry in China will continue its leadership in the global market through 2018, while business opportunities with China’s leading air conditioner manufacturers are also likely to flourish further.
According to a recent industry report from JRAIA, the global air conditioner demand was estimated at 102.31 million units in 2016, representing a 2.9% increase compared with previous year. While Asia-Pacific region poised the highest air conditioner demand, China was the largest market in both production and consumption of air conditioners, with its air conditioner demand reaching 40.6 million units in 2016. In terms of other regions, North America’s air-con demand totaled 14.6 million units in the same year, increased by 1.8% year on year; Europe recorded 6.1 million units, up by 12.2% year on year.
As the world’s largest air conditioner manufacturing and consuming market, China is now representing over 40% of the global air conditioner market, yet the growth of its production and sales of air conditioner still shows no sign to slow down. In its domestic market, China’s air conditioner sales have also increased rapidly over the last few years – the total air conditioner annual sales volume in China jumped from 137.9 million units in 2011 to over 160 million units in 2016. IBIS also reports that the revenue for the Air-Conditioner Manufacturing industry in China was expected to total $82.7 billion in 2017, up by 2.2% from 2016.
So far, China’s prominent air conditioner industry consists of over 217 enterprises with employment at about 332,279 people and a payroll of $4.5 billion, according to IBIS. Investment from both domestic and foreign enterprises operating in this industry increased greatly in recent years, especially in the room air-conditioner (RAC) manufacturing segment. The major manufacturers in the world – LG and Samsung from Korea; Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Hitachi from Japan; and Fedders from the United States – have all established factories in China.
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Gree is currently China’s largest air conditioner producer, also the largest air conditioner supplier in the world. Gree has topped the world for 12 years in terms of production and sales volumes of air conditioners and has remained China’s leading household electric appliances manufacturer for 14 years, with its revenues over US$15 billion in 2016, according to its official website. One in every three air conditioners in service in the world is made by Gree.
The future of China’s air conditioner market also looks more promising the anywhere else in the world. According to statistics from National Bureau of Statistics, ownership of air conditioners per 100 households in urban areas is 107.4 units and in rural areas 34.2 units. In addition, statistics from China Academy of Social Sciences suggests that China’s urbanization is continuously expanding presence, reaching 56.1% in 2015 and is expected to reach 60% in 2020 and 70% in 2030. With urbanization underway, air conditioner market has much further room to grow in the near future.
When it comes to the air conditioner exports, China is also in lead. According to the latest trading statistics from ITC, China exported over US$13.1 billion worth of air conditioners to the global market in 2016, representing about 31.6% of the world’s total air conditioner export in that year, retaining its reputation as the world’s largest air conditioner exporter once again. The USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Ital, and India were some of the largest importers for China’s air conditioning products in 2016. The exports of China’s air conditioners to Europe and the Middle East regions has witnessed a dramatic increase over the recent years.
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