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July/Aug 2019 ertonline.co.uk


announced as a sponsor of this year’s ERT


Awards, Hisense is a fast-growing brand in the UK. Here, UK MD, Howard Grindrod, talks


about where the company has come from and


where it’s aiming to be.


Recently Part of the family


First announced in May last year, Hisense UK completed the integration of the Gorenje brand in December. To complement the expanded product line-up of kitchen appliances, the manufacturer also announced that a new range of Hisense Cooking products will be introduced. Here, Mr Grindrod explains more about how the brands will work together and why it was such good timing in


relation to Hisense’s expansion strategy. “It’s not about growth at any cost – our products have got to be considered and they’ve got to be top quality,” he says.


Q: What was the decision behind the Gorenje acquisition? HG: Gorenje is a well-loved brand in the UK so it’s not just a matter of Hisense buying Gorenje, we’ve actually taken on the responsibility of the brand and there is respect for it right across the industry. As part of our general strategy we will also put some of the Gorenje products under the Hisense brand. The company is based in Velenje in Slovenia, that’s where


the main head office is and


it’s the centre of production; there are also manufacturing and R&D sites in Serbia, Czech Republic and Sweden. The company enjoys strong brand presence in the Balkan region, as well as Germany, Poland and Russia.


Q: What will Gorenje bring to your business? HG: Gorenje brings to the party strong R&D, a high-quality manufacturing base, strong areas of distribution not only within mainland Europe, but also globally. The company has over 10,000 employees and turns over a billion Euros, so it’s a significant company in its own right.


This also gives us European provenance – it shows our commitment to not only selling products in Europe but we’ve also invested in Europe in the broadest sense; we own factories and we employ thousands of people there.


Q: Talking of TVs… what’s new at Hisense? HG: Well ULED is our big story at the moment – which is our own propriety technology developed from a collection of over 20 patents and available on our mid to premium TV models. Focused specifically on colour, local dimming, resolution and motion refinements, ULED technology strives to deliver an enhanced viewing experience for the home. We have two new ULED products out this year – the U7B, which supports Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos, and the U8B, that adds 1,000nits peak brightness and Smooth Motion Rate 200. Sitting underneath the U7B, the B7500


››


What Hisense brings to Gorenje is scale, from purchasing of raw materials to mass production along with new markets; we


are strong in the United States, we’re very strong in our domestic market of China, where we’re number one in TV and number two in refrigeration, so the Gorenje brand will have a reach into the Chinese market.


Q: Did you feel you potentially had gaps in your product range before? HG: For sure, we needed new product groups in the major appliance area. It was only a matter of time before we moved into the space of cooking and dishwashing. What Gorenje has done is given us a company of substance, one which we can build a viable range around but can also add breadth and quality to Hisense.


Q: What’s the plan to integrate both brands further? HG: Very quickly everything’s become one team. The integration has been very smooth and it’s added a lot of excitement around the business. Our retail customers and our end consumers


have really got behind our products. The period of time that we’ve had in the UK market our reputation has grown from a quality base as much as a branding base. We don’t want to build a name and then have no substance behind it.


25


“We needed new product groups in the major appliance area. It was only a matter of time before we moved into the space of cooking and dishwashing”


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