Midea Ramping Up U.S. Appliance Operations

Expanding R&D facilities in pursuit of greater share
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Chinese appliance powerhouse Midea is expanding its R&D facilities in Louisville, Ky., as part of a market-share push in America.

Chinese appliance powerhouse Midea is expanding its R&D facilities in Louisville, Ky., as part of a market-share push in America.

The vendor opened the research center last year near the home turf of GE Appliances but has since outgrown the facility. A new 30,000-square-foot building housing labs, offices, engineering areas, test space, and an expanded team of 60 is set to open in January.

“Today marks the latest push by Midea to grow our presence here in Kentucky and in the U.S. market,” Midea Amercia president Jim Tomaszewski said at a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. “We know our success in this market is wholly dependent on developing compelling products for the U.S. consumer. That’s why Midea invests 3 percent of global revenue in R&D every year, and why we are investing in our R&D footprint here in the U.S.”

The company maintains sales and marketing offices in Parsippany, N.J., but chose to establish a research presence in Louisville for its location within the “appliance corridor” — a stretch of majap facilities running through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee that represents the largest concentration of appliance manufacturing and R&D in North America, the company said.

“We feel it is a great location to recruit a wealth of talent,” a spokesperson told TWICE in an email.

With more than $500 million in revenues, Midea America serves as an OEM to companies including GE, but also markets and distributes majaps under its own and licensed brands.

Its corporate parent Midea Group is a private, $24 billion kitchen, laundry, AC, floor care, small appliance and HVAC business founded 48 years ago in Guangdong, China. It operates nine strategic business units and over 200 global subsidiaries, and employs more than 100,000 workers worldwide.

Electrolux, in its bid to acquire GE, cited Midea as an example of the growing competition within the U.S. majap market, and industry consultant and former Home Depot appliance chief Bob Baird recently described the company as an up-and-coming global player.

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