FG Europe UK was established earlier this year as the exclusive distributor for the Chinese brand in the UK, with Martin Richards, formerly of Fujitsu and Hitachi, as General Manager.
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Parent company FG Europe is one of Europe’s largest air conditioning distributors and already sells Midea in Greece and the Balkans, and Fuijitsu in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina and Romania.
Midea is the world’s biggest air conditioning manufacturer, exporting more than 12 million systems a year. November 2017 saw global sales reach US$28bn, overtaking the US$24bn in the previous financial year. It has automated factories in 12 countries and employs more than 130,000 people worldwide.
Last year, Midea acquired ownership stakes in Clivet (80 per cent), Toshiba Life Style Corporation (80 per cent) and German robotic manufacturer KUKA (95 per cent).
Martin Richards said: “The financial power and drive of the Midea organisation is impossible to ignore and with the support of such a long-established business in FG Europe we have an exclusive opportunity in promoting and supporting a range of equipment that can boast some of the industry’s most exceptional products.
“We do not underestimate the challenge and a lot of hard work will be necessary but having witnessed first-hand the build quality and accuracy that state of the art factory automation can provide, I have never been more confident in a product’s reliability. Our FG UK team and Midea have worked tirelessly in researching a strategy that we believe will be a winning one for our customers in the UK.
“Out job is to establish the brand to the level it deserves. We know it won’t be easy to alter some perceptions but we understand the needs of the market and believe Midea is a genuine competitor for anything out there. The ambition is to grow the business sustainably and make a profit.’’
Retail is seen as a key driver for the business, with two significant contracts already in place.
UK offices have been established in central London and Newcastle, with the prospect of more to follow, and the team has spent much of this year building what they feel is a robust support structure. Around £1 million of stock is held in the UK, with spares for every system available.
The company sees building partnerships with installers as a key part of its growth strategy, with National Sales Manager Steve Robinson - also previously at Hitachi - referencing the success of competitors like Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric.
He said: “We are not looking to just win on price, we are looking at long-term partnerships. The businesses that have won have done it through partnerships and we are looking to replicate that in a different way.’’
The Mi Partner programme offers a 10-year warranty, giving the original installer the opportunity to offer the same level of care during long-term maintenance as they did during installation. Partners will also be supported with a contribution towards first year service costs. Technical training and CPD courses will be available in London, with hands-on training in Newcastle.
From February, Midea says it will be one of the first manufacturers to offer a full line-up of R32 split and multi split products, at the same cost as its R410a products. FG Europe UK will also be giving its Mi Partners refrigerant contributions of £32/kg on R410a products and £12/kg on R32 products. Contributions will be paid for by FG Europe up to the maximum piping length of every split and multi split air conditioning system sold.
Midea and FG Europe UK will be exhibiting at the HVAC and Refrigeration Show at Excel, January 23-25.