Chinese makers of air conditioners have witnessed explosive growth of exports to Europe, Southeast Asia and North America so far this year as record-setting heat waves have scorched the northern hemisphere since June against the backdrop of climate change, industry experts said.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that China's exports of air conditioners stood at 31.67 million units in the first half, up 13.2 percent in June alone from the same period last year.
The country's total output of air conditioners reached 17.58 million units in June, an increase of 35.3 percent year-on-year, with exports of the cooling appliances rising to 5.73 million units during the month, said ChinaIOL.com, a professional research institute focusing on data monitoring in the home appliances market.
In the first half, China's exports of air conditioners to Japan, Mexico, Iraq, Spain and Italy jumped by 8.4 percent, 12.6 percent, 65.7 percent, 47.6 percent and 10.8 percent year-on-year, respectively, ChinaIOL.com said.
Chinese home appliance manufacturer Sichuan Changhong Electronics Holdings Group Co Ltd said its air conditioner sales revenue in overseas markets skyrocketed 25 percent year-on-year in the first six months, with sales to North America, South America, Europe and Africa doubling during the January-June period.
In addition, its exports of air conditioners registered steady growth in Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, the company said.
Gan Jianguo, a spokesperson with Guangdong MBO Refrigeration Equipment Co Ltd — a Foshan, Guangdong province-based air conditioner maker — said consumers from some European countries, who previously did not have a habit of using air conditioning, have shown rising demand for such products this year given the searing temperatures gripping the region.
Gan said exports of the company's air conditioners jumped 30 percent year-on-year from January to July, with the products mainly sold to Europe, Southeast Asia and North America.
Zhou Nan, secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products' home appliances branch, said demand for air conditioners has risen dramatically as the world saw its hottest June on record due to the combined effects of El Nino and climate change.
With more attention being paid to climate issues, green and energy-saving air refrigeration products have been increasingly favored by overseas consumers, Zhou said, adding that China is the world's top manufacturer and exporter of air conditioners, and its energy efficiency standards are leading the world.
Unieuro, an Italian consumer electronics retailer, said sales of air conditioners doubled between July 17 and July 21 compared with the same period last year, with Chinese brands accounting for more than 60 percent of the share.
Li Xuefei, an analyst with ChinaIOL.com, said Chinese air conditioner makers should step up the construction of their self-owned brands overseas and improve their products in accordance with energy efficiency requirements in different countries.
Moreover, other cooling products, such as mini fans, are gaining traction overseas. Data from Yiwugou, an online retail platform for manufacturers in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, showed that orders for mini fans soared 117.2 percent year-on-year from May 1 to July 12, with transaction volume quadrupling compared with that of last year.