China heating product exports to Europe surge
High-quality appliances at good prices are increasingly favored by Europeans
Despite it still being summer in Europe, China's exports of heating appliances, including electric heaters, electric blankets and air source heat pumps, have witnessed explosive growth this year as the continent is in the grip of its biggest energy crisis in decades, with natural gas supplies from Russia becoming volatile, industry experts said.
The European Union's statistics bureau showed that the annual inflation rate of energy prices in the EU reached 38.3 percent as of July, among which natural gas and electricity prices jumped 52.2 percent and 31.1 percent, respectively. Many European countries have hastened efforts to push forward the transition of their energy structures.
China's General Administration of Customs said the country's exports of electric blankets and electric heaters skyrocketed 97 percent and 23 percent year-on-year, respectively, in the first seven months, given that European consumers are expanding their purchases of heating appliances ahead of the coming winter.
The European market has been a major growth engine for China's home appliance exports. There is surging demand for imported electric heaters, especially in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, while demand for electric blanket imports more than doubled in Greece, Italy, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Currently, China is the main supplier of air source heat pumps－a common heating technology that sources heat energy from ambient air outdoors for indoor heating－to Europe, taking up about 60 percent of global market share, said the China Household Electrical Appliances Association.
In the first half, China's exports of air source heat pumps to Bulgaria, Poland, Italy and Spain soared 614 percent, 373 percent, 198 percent and 71 percent year-on-year, respectively.
"Russia has cut off gas supplies to several European countries, which has promoted price spikes of natural gas and other energy, thus bringing huge demand for energy-saving heating appliances," said Bo Wenxi, chief economist at marketing firm Interpublic Group China.
Against the backdrop of soaring energy prices and natural gas shortages, China's high-quality heating appliances at reasonable prices are increasingly favored by European consumers, Bo said.
Germans bought 600,000 electric heating devices during the first half, up almost 35 percent from a year earlier, according to market researcher GfK.
Zhou Nan, secretary-general of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products' home appliances branch, said exports of heating appliances have risen dramatically in the first six months, and air source heat pumps, which serve as a high-efficiency source of heat in cold climates, enjoy huge growth potential.
Sales revenue of China's air source heat pump industry amounted to 7.19 billion yuan ($1.04 billion) in the first half, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year, based on data from ChinaIOL.com, a professional research institute focusing on data monitoring in the home appliances market.
Domestic sales of air source heat pumps rose 6.82 percent year-on-year to 3.74 billion yuan, while the export value reached 3.45 billion yuan, surging 68.2 percent on a yearly basis. Italy, Poland and Spain saw year-on-year increases of more than 50 percent in the first six months of 2022.
Exports of air source heat pumps are expected to maintain a more than 50 percent growth rate this year due to rising demand for such energy-efficient heating equipment across the globe, said ChinaIOL.
In the first seven months, exports of Chinese home appliance firm Midea's heat pumps surged 215 percent year-on-year, ChinaIOL said. Haier Group said exports of its air source heat pumps jumped 200 percent on a yearly basis in the first half, and the products were mainly sold to European countries.