Haier to double overseas sales in 3-5 yrs

Tue Jan 5, 2010 4:50pm IST

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* Asia-Pacific sales up 30 percent in 2009

* Consumer demand picked up globally in Q4 2009

(Adds details, quotes)

By Michael Wei and Simon Rabinovitch

BEIJING, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Haier Group, China's largest home appliance maker, aims to generate two thirds of its revenue from foreign markets in three to five years, more than double the current level, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

The target underscores the ambitions of the Qingdao-based company, parent of Haier Electronics (1169.HK) and Qingdao Haier (600690.SS).

A household name in China, it remains relatively unknown outside of its home market and has been expanding to establish a foothold in other markets, including the United States.

Some 30 percent of its revenue was earned abroad in 2009, Zhang Tieyan, spokeswoman for the group, told Reuters in an interview. "We expect sales from overseas markets to account for two-thirds of our total sales," she said.

She added that the company, which competes with South Korea's LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), Sweden's Electrolux AB (ELUXb.ST) and General Electric Co (GE.N), aimed to achieve the target in three to five years.

The electric appliance industry has suffered during the global economic recession, but Zhang said consumer demand had recovered strongly since the final quarter of last year, driving a 30 percent increase in Asia-Pacific sales in 2009.

"Heading into the fourth quarter, we have definitely seen evidence of a global economic revival, such as an increase in clients orders," Zhang said.

The group's global sales rose 10 percent in November from a year earlier, sharply accelerating from total revenue growth in the full year of about 2 or 3 percent, she said.

Haier acquired a 20 percent stake in New Zealand's Fisher & Paykel Appliances FPA.NZ in May last year for about $50 million.

The deal marked a milestone for Haier, which previously failed in a bid for U.S. appliance maker Maytag and was thought by analysts to be considering a bid for General Electric's appliance unit last year, but ultimately said it wasn't interested.

The company operates 29 factories in countries, including the United States, Italy, Thailand and Jordan, Zhang said.

(Editing by David Holmes)

((michael.wei@thomsonreuters.com; +8610 6627 1003; Reuters Messaging: michael.wei.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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