Japan’s Panasonic, Daikin Invest in Post-Covid China

Japanese companies, including Panasonic Holdings and Daikin Industries, are increasing their investments in China amid the post-Covid shake-up of global supply chains.

From 2022 to 2024, Panasonic’s investment in China will exceed JPY50 billion (USD385 million), including transferring its production line of electric rice cookers to Hangzhou, the Osaka-headquartered firm told Yicai Global recently.

Panasonic will also build or upgrade more than 10 plants to produce home appliances and air conditioning supplies in China, an insider said. The Hangzhou plant will become Panasonic’s first newly-built home appliance plant in China over the past 18 years. The facility will go into operation next year to make CNY2 billion (USD296.2 million) worth of microwaves, electric rice cookers, and other cooking appliances per year.

Strategic Decisions

Transferring the production line of electric rice cookers to Hangzhou is not a recent decision as it was made after long and thorough deliberation since the Covid-19 pandemic, Tetsuro Homma, regional head of China & Northeast Asia at Panasonic Holdings, told Yicai Global.

The basic idea is to sell products where they are produced, Homma said. “We see that supply chains in China are resilient and we are willing to bring the advantages of Chinese supply chains into full play.”

Besides Hangzhou, Panasonic also produces electric rice cookers in India’s Chennai, Homma said, adding that the eastern Chinese city has advantages in policies on bonded areas, technologies, and supply chains while India has lower labor costs.

Another Japanese firm Daikin will start building its third production base in China in Huizhou, Guangdong province, next month. The new plant is scheduled to start production in August 2024 and achieve CNY7 billion in revenue per year.

Daikin’s rising capacity indicates that the air conditioning giant is confident about the potential of the Chinese market and its after-market demand, said Fei Teng, analyst at research platform ChinaIOL. “Users in the central A/C market, in particular, speak highly of Japanese products

Daikin new heat pump facility

Daikin Industries announced the intention to invest 300 million euros to establish a new factory for heat pump units at the Ksawerów Industrial Park in Lodz Province, Poland. The new production base will start operations in July 2024 to meet the rapidly increasing demand for heat pumps in Europe.

Over the past decade, the European heat pump heating market has grown by an average annual rate of 10% to achieve sales of 1 million units in 2021. The European Green Deal policy, which aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the EU region by 2050, has further accelerated the spread of heat pumps. Market expansion is forecast to hit annual sales of at least 3 million units by 2025.