30.11.2016

Lifa Air and Edifier formed joint venture to manufacture air purifiers for Chinese households

A matchmaking event by Golden Bridge/Finpro resulted in a 21 M€ investment and a mass production facility in Dongguan.


Lifa Air’s entry to the Chinese consumer market demonstrates the excellent business potential of high-tech joint ventures by Finnish and Chinese companies. Founded in 1988 by brothers Pentti and Vesa Mäkipää, Lifa Air focuses on technology, products and services that improve indoor air quality. Over the past 25 years the company’s products have been sold in more than 100 countries for use mainly in public and commercial buildings and industrial applications.

 

According to Vesa Mäkipää, President of Lifa Air Asia, the company had identified an attractive opportunity to sell its air purification products to middle-class Chinese households but quickly realised that its own resources were not sufficient to enter the market. In late 2014, Lifa Air participated in investor matchmaking events organised by Golden Bridge/Invest-in-Finland China Team and Tekes in China.
 

“Lifa Air already had some business in China and we saw that the company was in a good position to take a local investor onboard,” says Marika Mäkelä, Senior Advisor at Finpro’s Growth Capital department. “So we invited Lifa Air to our matchmaking event and introduced them to Edifier which is a Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer specializing in multimedia and audio products.”

 

Match made for joint growth
 

Edifier recognised the growth potential of diversifying its consumer offering with Lifa Air’s high-quality products. The negotiations between the companies resulted in a 21 M€ investment by Edifier in a new joint venture company Lifa Air (Dongguan) Air Purification System Co Ltd. in which Lifa Air holds 30% and Edifier 70% of the shares. The joint venture utilizes Lifa Air’s technology and patents and has its manufacturing facility in the city of Dongguan in southern China.
 

“I am very thankful to Team Finland which helped us to find a perfect partner for the Chinese consumer market segment. Through the partnership with Edifier we have gained access to the most prominent sales channels in China,” says Vesa Mäkipää.  
 

The first products of the new company were launched at a joint venture event in Beijing on 12 October 2015, attended by Finland’s Ambassador in China Marja Rislakki.
 

Quality products aiming for high sales volumes
 

The joint venture’s intelligent air purifiers combine real-time indoor air quality measurement with the automatic optimization of air purification. The LIFA Smart Controller unit makes it possible to verify and adjust the air quality anywhere: at home, in a car or at work. The air purifiers can also be controlled with a downloadable mobile app.
 

The new products have been well received in the Chinese media. Many cities in China suffer from high levels of pollution and there is strong consumer awareness about the need for fresh and healthy indoor air. The market potential is vast and the joint venture is aiming for high sales volumes from the beginning. It has established an expandable production capacity in Dongguan for 500,000 air purifiers, 500,000 car filters and 5000 air handling unit (AHU) filtering systems.
 

“There is an urgent need to improve indoor air quality in China so the market outlook for this joint venture is very promising. It is rewarding to see how Lifa Air and Edifier have combined their technological expertise and market know-how to bring top-quality air purification products to the Chinese consumer market. Without our matchmaking activities this would not have happened,” says Marika Mäkelä.
 

Successful European launch

 

In September 2016, Lifa Air’s new air purifiers were launched for the first time in Europe at IFA Berlin which is Europe’s biggest trade show focusing on consumer electronics. The response exceeded expectations and sales will start in many European countries at the turn of the year.