MATSUSHITA Industrial Corp Sdn Bhd (Maico) is aiming for a 43% share of the market for domestic air-conditioners this year, despite expectations of greater mobility of air-conditioners in the region with full implementation of the Asean free trade area (Afta) regime.
Maico sales director Hiroshi Maeda said the Matsushita group, which has invested about RM1bil in Malaysia over the past 29 years, had consistently gained better market share and sales percentage over the years.
We hope to sell 200,000 units of air-conditioners this year in Malaysia, he said after the launch of the latest National Puritee air-conditioner in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
Currently, National air-conditioners dominate the local residential sector with almost a 50% market share. In the light commercial sector, Maeda said, Maico hoped to gain a stronger footing in the near future, compared with its current market share of only 10%.
Last year, Maico registered a 5% increase in turnover to RM285mil.
Of Maico's total production of 1.5 million units annually, 80% are exported, with the remaining 20% meant for the domestic market.
Maeda said: In respect of the post-Afta scenario, there will be more competing brands entering the Malaysian market. As 60% of the Asean production of air-conditioners is based in Thailand, we will experience a strong presence of Thai-made Japanese and Korean air-conditioners.
He added that more competitors would also translate into more price competition, which is set to intensify further.
Under the new Afta ruling, import duty on air-conditioners among Asean countries would be reduced to 5% from 20%. However, for other countries, the import duty remains unchanged at 30%.
Maico managing director Shuji Yasuda said: In view of the competitive market in Malaysia, the group would take up the challenge by implementing new strategies involving five major areas of its marketing, namely, product, pricing, promotion, service and organisation.
In terms of product strategy, Yasuda said, the group planned to widen its product range to meet market requirements, particularly in the light and commercial segment one of the most progressive and promising growth sectors.
It has also set competitive and reasonable pricing structures in the residential and light commercial segment.
We are constantly developing new models with distinguished features as well as advanced design through constant innovation, Yasuda added.
Looking forward, Maeda said: The group aims to strengthen its market share in the domestic residential area from 10% to 20%.
Maico wants to consolidate National as the leading air-conditioner brand in Malaysia. The group aims to capture 50% of the total domestic air-conditioner market by end-2005, selling over 400,000 units.
Referring to the Asean region, Maeda said the total demand for air-conditioners last year was about 2.3 million units.
National air-conditioners have about 22% market share, making us the market leader, he added.