Huntington Beach, Calif. - Haier, China's largest majap maker, and Fisher & Paykel (F&P), the premium appliance manufacturer, are exploring opportunities to cross-market their products in the United States.
The move would extend a strategic partnership formed last May when Haier purchased a 20 percent stake in the New Zealand vendor and added its chief financial officer and chief marketing officer to F&P's board.
Under the agreement, the two companies are sharing product development, manufacturing and market resources to reduce production and procurement costs.
As part of the arrangement, Haier is presently producing select products under the Fisher & Paykel brand, and the partners are looking to expand the assortment.
The pact also gives Haier exclusive rights to market and distribute Fisher & Paykel products in China, while F&P will distribute Haier- manufactured and branded products in New Zealand.
Haier Australia, however, will continue to handle the Haier brand on that continent.
The partnership gives Haier access to Fisher & Paykel's premium assortment, while extending F&P's global reach. The deal will also help the New Zealand manufacturer contain production costs amid the global recession, which has taken a steep toll on appliance sales across the industry.
"This partnership gives us a unique opportunity to fully globalize Fisher & Paykel Appliances and really drive our global expansion into parts of the world that had been previously been very difficult for us to penetrate," said Mike Goadby, president of Fisher & Paykel North America. "Our companies will work together toward remaining global leaders in the development, production and marketing of innovative home appliances."
Fisher & Paykel is best known for its compact DishDrawer dishwasher and its recently acquired DCS line of professional cooking equipment. Its products are sold directly or via distributors to about 4,500 dealers in the United States, and are produced globally at plants in Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand; Cleveland, Australia; Rayong Province, Thailand; Reynosa, Mexico; Treviso, Italy; and Clyde, Ohio.
Haier, the No. 1 brand in China and reportedly the second-largest in the world, was founded in Qingdao, Shandong province in 1984 by current chairman/CEO Zhang Ruimin. Its products are distributed in more than 160 countries and regions in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Global sales rose 8 percent last year to $17.5 billion, with exports accounting for about $4.5 billion, up nearly 10 percent year over year.
Haier employs some 60,000 workers, including 10,000 outside China.