BEIJING, March 15 (Reuters) - The Hisense Group, owner of Hisense Electric Co. (600060.SS), a top Chinese TV and appliance maker, is forecasting group sales to more than double by 2010 to 100 billion yuan ($14.1 billion), the chairman said on Saturday.
The group posted sales growth of over 20 percent last year to 46.9 billion yuan, helped by the purchase of a significant stake in Guangdong Kelon Electrical (0921.HK) (000921.SZ) in 2006, group Chairman Zhou Houjian, told reporters.
“Growth will continue to be powered by white goods and electronics,” Zhou said, on the sidelines of the nation’s annual Parliament meeting.
Group member Qingdao Hisense Air-conditioning Co. took a 26.4 percent stake in Kelon about two years ago.
The group relies on the domestic market for 80 percent of sales, and is looking actively at overseas expansion but acknowledges a significant technological gap still to overcome.
“We need to upgrade our technology and product quality in order to expand in the future,” Zhou said.
The group was open to strategic partnerships with foreign manufacturers, but was not currently in talks and could close that technology gap with in-house research, he said.
The group spends about five percent of sales on research and development, he said.
The group is based in the eastern port city of Qingdao, and competes with cross-town rival Haier Group, as well as international giants like Electrolux (ELUXb.ST), Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and LG Electronics (066570.KS).
Hisense, which makes televisions, mobile phones and consumer electronics, makes products for clients including U.S.-based giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) and France’s Carrefour (CARR.PA), who then sell the products under their own names.
Brand development is a priority for major Chinese electronics makers as they look overseas, where competition is fierce but profits are also wider.