Second-tier appliance makers achieve A-list profits
Winiadimchae, best known for its kimchi refrigerator, recorded 30.4 billion won ($27.3 million) in net profit in 2020, up 175 percent from the previous year, according to Financial Supervisory Service. Revenue rose 17 percent to 875.6 billion won during the same period.
Cuckoo Electronics, which is best known for its rice cookers, posted 73.9 billion won in net profit, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. Its revenue hit an all-time high of 561.9 billion won, up 11.4 percent on year.
Kyung Dong Navien, a local gas water-heater manufacturer, reported a 24.4 billion won net profit in the first quarter, up 168.7 percent on year.
The pandemic contributed to the strong performances of the home appliance makers. As the virus prevents people from going out and forces them to stay indoors, they are showing more interest in decorating their homes.
“Home appliances such as air purifiers, dishwashers and dryers have now become essential items for Koreans,” said Lee Jun-young, a Sangmyung University professor of consumer and housing. “People are showing more interest in products from mid-sized companies as they are recognized for having great technology and offer products at reasonable prices.”
With the growing demand, the home appliance makers are now seeking to expand their businesses and broaden their ranges of offerings.
Large companies and mid-sized companies have different strategies. As with Bespoke, from Samsung Electronics, and Objet Collection, from LG Electronics, large companies focus more on interior design and suiting different tastes. They also work hard on networking home appliances.
Mid-sized companies aim to attract consumers with competitively priced goods.
Cuckoo Electronics is focusing on the kitchen. Early last year, it introduced a mid-sized dishwasher and Speed Pot, an appliance that can do everything from make yogurt to cook rice.
Sales of the dishwashers have been increasing 40 percent each month for about a year, according to the company.
Winix, which has been targeting foreign markets with its air purifier, has introduced a front-load washer and dryer for domestic customers. It also said it plans to develop a clothes steamer soon.
“Mid-sized home appliance companies have the capability to develop quality products with high technology and offer them to customers at reasonable prices,” Yoon Chul-min, CEO of Winix, told JoongAng Ilbo. “Winix will steadily exert all efforts to strengthen our skills in filter and dehumidification sectors, as well as will strengthen product lineups like air purifier, dryer and clothes steamers.”
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