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Midea goes from home appliance giant to Fortune 500 company

Midea is evolving from a home appliance manufacturing giant into one of the world’s top 500 technology companies

The 2017 Fortune Global Forum will be held in Guangzhou, China from December 6-8.

Attended by leaders and CEOs of the world’s top companies, the event is in its 22nd year and is deemed one of the most influential economic development forums in the world.

Midea, which in recent months emerged as a “dark horse” due to its impressive transformation into a global technology group, will be partnering the Fortune Global Forum for the very first time. 

As the only Chinese household appliance company to have entered the Fortune Global 500 list for two consecutive years, Midea’s performance has always been spectacular.


The company has recorded a revenue of over $28 billion in the first three quarters of 2017 alone, shipping over 300 million units of home appliances to global users, and the same number of core components to manufacturers worldwide.

However, what has actually brought Midea under the spotlight in the international market in recent years is its aggressive foray into robotics and automation, including:

  • Midea’s acquisition of German industrial robot manufacturer Kuka;
  • its strategic alliance with motion control systems supplier Servotronix; and
  • its partnership with Japanese industrial robot maker Yaskawa.

In less than two years, the home appliance leader has rapidly and inexorably risen to become a high-profile, global technology giant.

Over the breakfast roundtable hosted by Midea on December 7, Paul Fang, chairman and CEO of Midea, will join a discussion with executives from Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and Syngenta International Technologies on the topic of “Going Global Strategies: Cross-Border Mergers, Partnerships, and Organic Growth”.

Midea’s strategic roadmap for expansion and development would naturally also be a key focus of the discussion.

Judging from Midea’s progress in recent years, Midea’s decision to adopt bold and strategic moves for its transformation is not without any basis.

Rather it is a calculated decision and strategy against the backdrop of continuous growth that it has experienced over the years.

Pay a visit to Midea’s headquarters in Foshan, China – where the Midea Global Innovation Center situated alongside the 105 National Road in Shunde – and one will get a better understanding of what the brand stands for.

With an investment of $450 million and a land area of 2,870,000 sq ft, this compound can accommodate over 10,000 research and development staff.

What one might also find interesting is the fact that this center was formerly their production plant for fans, Midea’s very first product in the home appliance market back in the 1980s.

The transformation from a labor-intensive manufacturing plant to a talent-intensive innovation base demonstrates Midea’s philosophy for breakthrough.

Rather than dwell on large-scale and low-cost growth models, Midea’s key to staying ahead of competition and securing the future as a technology leader lies in its unique approach to research innovation and raising productivity, which is supported by its three strategic pillars of:

  1. leading products;
  2. efficiency-driven; and
  3. global operations.

Not only will Midea obtain what it describes as “world-class solutions” in robotics manufacturing in industrial and medical settings and factory automation through its partnerships with Kuka, Servotronix and Yaskawa, its considerable experience and resources in the home appliance sector will also help create sizable synergy among its business partners.

The complementarity of various business segments allows Midea to extend both upstream and downstream along the value chain, better connecting businesses and customers.

This creates an ecosystem, made possible by the integration of the various business segments such as R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, marketing and sales, service and promotion.

This will allow for more efficient processes and eliminate the over-dependence on a particular product category or a certain activity in the value chain.

At the root of it, Midea’s grand vision to pursue a global operation with a whole industry chain approach is what the company says drives it to constantly work with industry leaders and partners to secure “win-win partnerships”.

It is the company’s strategy to further explore the value of synergy among various segments by laying out business along the industry chain so that it can generate multiplied growth both upstream and downstream.

This also echoes CEO Fang’s words of “achieving operational excellence along the whole value chain by leveraging on endogenous growth”.

Midea says: “Created in China is slowly but surely taking its place in the international arena today, lending even more importance to the discussions at this year’s Fortune Forum, especially from Midea, the rising star among the Fortune Global 500 companies.”

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