This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Midea’s pursuit of growth has paved the way for its digital transformation.

From bottle caps to smart manufacturing

From humble beginnings, Midea has leveraged tech to become one of the world’s largest home appliance makers

Founded in 1968 as a small workshop for making plastic bottle caps, China’s Meimei Group entered the home appliance industry in 1981 by manufacturing small electric fans.

Today, the renamed Midea Group is a global company operating in more than 195 countries. Its 190,000 employees work across business lines including HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), robotics and automation, smart home and IoT, as well as smart logistics and components.

With annual revenue of 373b Chinese yuan (US $51.5b) in 2023, it is not just one of the world’s largest makers of home appliances, but a leading technology group with intelligent manufacturing capabilities.

Midea’s pursuit of growth has paved the way for its digital transformation over the past 15 years. In 2018, with the increasing adoption of IoT technologies, Midea began researching ways to connect individual home appliances to a data network. By 2021, it had partnered with Huawei and China Unicom, a telecom operator to upgrade an existing kitchen-appliance factory to a 5G-powered smart demonstration site southern China’s Guangdong Province.

This innovative project has made progress in intelligent warehousing, intelligent vehicle management, and AI intelligent monitoring.

Building intelligent factories

By year-end 2021, Midea had begun working with China Mobile and Huawei to launch a fully 5G-connected factory project in Hubei Province. This was the first time Midea applied 5G to all industrial production and business operations in one of its factories. Private 5G networks cover all production and warehousing areas, providing connections for production and processing, quality inspection, operation and maintenance of equipment, environmental health and safety, and energy monitoring.

The benefits from the project are tangible. It now takes just 15 seconds for the production line to make a single washing machine. The factory also doubled its delivery rate, cutting inventory in half and reducing labor costs by 30% per unit. In February 2023, the project won the "5G Industry Partner Award" at the GSMA Global Mobile Awards, earning industry recognition for comprehensively integrating 5G and smart manufacturing.

In 2023, Midea cooperated with Huawei to upgrade its production campus network in Foshan, Guangdong Province. Using advanced industrial network architecture, Midea aims to achieve ubiquitous interconnection and low carbon output.

Numbers don’t lie

From the production site to the cloud, Midea has raised the level of automation in its manufacturing operations from 30% to more than 50%. After this digital transformation, Midea's annual revenue soared from 100b yuan (US$13.8b) 10 years ago to more than 340 billion yuan (US$47b) as of 2022. Its profit during the period rose from 3.3b yuan (US $456m) to 33.7b yuan (US$4.6b), while its market value increased 10-fold.

By applying information technology, network technology, and intelligent technology to the industrial field, and combining advanced manufacturing with energy-saving and carbon-reducing technologies, the manufacturing industry can upgrade the traditional production and operation paradigm to a new stage of intelligence.

Contact us!