2018 was the best year for Midea. Not only has it ranked among the world’s Fortune 500 for three consecutive years, but it has also risen to rank 127 from the original rank 323. Midea has also been included in the most authoritative global digital innovation list. Top 100 of “Global Challenger” released at Boston Consulting (BCG); Midea ranked 41st in the “2018 Global 100 Most Valuable Technology Brands List”, ranked 9th in China’s list of brands, with Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei to enter the ranks of the top ten brands in China.
Behind these series of honours are the industry’s amazement and recognition of the innovative capabilities, innovative layout and innovative achievements of the Midea. With the full-scale landing of allrounder blooming technology, the development of the context and the pattern is gradually clear, and the strength of the Midea demonstrates the determination and execution of “the perfection of science and technology and the beauty of life”.
Promote product innovation from the core to the design
“The essence of high technology lies in whether it can solve the most essential needs of users, to achieve more humanized and personalized possibilities, and to make life simpler, more convenient and more beautiful.” Xu Chengmao, president of Midea Group, was on the eve of AWE’s opening. In his speech, the opening ceremony clearly expressed the beauty of the concept of technological innovation. In this way, Midea has spared no effort in the basic application of technology research and innovative applications of technology.
In order to improve product performance upside down, various cross-border technologies have been introduced. R&D personnel have drawn inspiration from aviation turbines, applying counter-rotating technology to cabinets, in order to make air conditioning air supply more accurate. Solar thermal power generation inspired them to innovative home appliance phase change thermal storage technology, achieving high-energy storage density, reducing the volume of water storage water heaters, and achieving rapid and stable heating of water flow. The artificial intelligence technology that can give the machine the ability to perceive, recognize, make decisions and think is also applied to home appliances. Users can get a better experience and reduce the burden without complicated operations. The introduction of digital design technology in the development of up to 20 categories across the board has significantly shortened the cycle from basic technology concept to product landing. As a result, more products with high-tech products have been available. For example, COLMO, a high-end brand with AI technology as its highlight, enables home appliances to help the consumers better wash their clothes and cook well through deep learning. The application of multiple cross-industry and cross-domain technical resources makes users simpler, more convenient and more beautiful life experience.
This series of efforts have been rewarded with great returns. Last year alone, 14 Meidea led R&D projects received nationally recognized “international leading” results. In 2018, Midea continued to lead the innovation in the field of home appliances, applying for 15,895 patents, including 6,102 invention patents. By the end of 2018, Midea’s cumulative domestic patent applications exceeded 94,000, and its authorized maintenance volume was 44,000. It ranked first in the global home appliance industry for three consecutive years. Not only that, but also many of Midea’s products have also achieved awards in the overall patent 2 gold, 2 silver and 11 excellent. Among them, rice cooker MB-FZ4094, eccentric stirring and breaking machine won the China National Patent Gold Award.
Based on continuous improvement of core technology, Midea’s investment in design and development has gradually shown results: In 2018, the Group won 57 international design awards: 16th German Red Dot Awards, 14th German IF Awards and 21st US IDEA Awards. Air conditioners, heaters received 8th 2018AWE Epland awards, of which AIR100 air conditioner won the “2018AWE Epland Gold Award”, has become the focus of the entire appliance industry.
From production to management, seeking multi-dimensional breakthroughs
It is true that the improvement of product technology and design can make “technology perfect, life beautiful”, but the beauty goes deeper and farther on the digital road, and is committed to promoting the industrial application of “Industrial Internet” to a new level soon. To this end, Midea has fully implemented the in-depth transformation of the digitalization process of the production line. Based on digital transformation, Midea has extended the digital advantage to the user end and completed the docking between the manufacturing end and the customer end. At present, Midea has taken the lead in becoming the first industrial Internet platform provider in China with the advantages of manufacturing knowledge, software and hardware. It has been selected as the pilot project of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. It has become an example of the industry. In order to better link human-machine and promote the digital experience of smart home, Midea is making efforts. On one hand, Midea actively participates in the formulation of international industry standards, has become the first home appliance enterprise to pass China’s first Wi-Fi smart home appliance testing standard and is committed to promoting the first “The development and implementation of the international standard of smart home IoT (Internet of Things). On the other hand, Midea is actively working with Ali to develop a home appliance IoT module to explore the connection and use the experience of smart homes.
In order to meet the needs of users in a better way in the digital age, Midea has also fully explored the new business model. Nowadays, consumers are moving from the “audience era” of passively accepting the products to the value of “my products and I am the master”. Only by truly user-centred, creating a platform for users to get through the whole line can be the first in the era of the upcoming value creation. Midea launched the first interconnected home appliance brand “Bugu” at this year’s AWE, and stepped out of the first step of actively embracing the innovation of the business model in the digital age.
Deep layout research and development, practice sustainable innovation
Behind the intensive results of innovation, it is inseparable from the long-term layout of Midea. It is reported that Midea’s R&D investment has increased year by year. In the past five years, the accumulated investment has reached nearly 30 billion, ranking among the top among Chinese enterprises. Persevering huge investment has enabled Midea to accumulate strong scientific research strength. According to statistics, Midea currently has 20 R&D centres in the world, with R&D personnel accounting for over 50%, and doctors and senior experts with more than 500 people. It is obvious that dare to invest more in basic R&D is the core technology moat of Midea’s key.
At the same time, Midea Group’s four-level research and development system, from advanced research to product development, is also conducive to the integration of global superior resources and product leadership. Academia Sinica is focused on common technology and future proof technological development. It is not only incorporating global innovative talents, but also linking external R&D institutions, innovation centres and entrepreneurial teams from various countries. The efforts are made to accumulate a large number of original scientific and technological achievements, providing long-term kinetic energy for the sustainable development of the Group’s technology research and development. Short-term technology research and product developments also speed up the incubation and application of technology. Various levels of the R&D system are interlocked to ensure that the innovation input is effectively produced.
It is worth noting that Midea Group’s innovation system is destined to not only benefit the single product, category or brand but through the internal technology sharing of the group, to enhance the user experience more widely in response to the needs of different groups of people. If the core technology with independent intellectual property rights is the “life gate” of the company’s leading machine, then the innovation breakthrough of Midea is precisely to control the leading position of industrial development and to inject cutting-edge technology into its brands to varying degrees based on user needs. Among the products, we will win a longer-term competitive advantage and achieve a positive cycle of corporate growth.
Cross-industry collaboration to promote innovation linkage
The depth of beauty enters the era of sharing and innovation is no longer done independently by one force. For this, Midea began to work together with the frontiers in various fields to build a large platform for linkage innovation. In June 2018, Midea and Academician Chen Qingquan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering jointly established an academician workstation and hired Academician Chen Qingquan as an academic advisor to Midea Group’s core component industry of new energy vehicles to promote the technological innovation of Midea Group. In addition, Midea has signed strategic cooperation agreements with Hikvision, Honeywell Group, BASF and other partners to jointly achieve cross-industry cooperation and bring a better life experience to users. At present, Midea-Infineon Joint Lab has been listed and put into operation, in order to further improve the frequency conversion technology and make more efforts.
As a technology company that provides more than 400 million terminal products and services to families in more than 200 countries and regions every year, Midea has been striving to implement the promise of “perfect technology, beautiful life”, from technology to products. Every aspect of production to business continues to innovate. In order to stay ahead, Midea is not afraid of continuous investment in R&D funds, talents and systems. It also integrates global resources and cooperates with industry leaders to continuously incubate and improve core technologies, so that product innovation can return to the essence of service users’ needs.
At this year’s AWE, we not only saw the fruitful exploration results of Midea but also learned about the context and layout of the Midea’s scientific and technological innovation, adding an infinite imagination to the development of the world’s top 500 technology companies.