Broad Group is famous worldwide for its factory mass produced skyscrapers but revenue from purifying China’s polluted air will be multiplying

1. Forbes reports on the status of the China Broad Group 220 story SkyCity skyscraper project

Called ‘Sky City’, the proposed tower in Changsha is designed to house over 30,000 people in a structure with 104 elevators that tops out at 838 meters, taller than Dubai’s Burj Tower. And this giant, 9.0 earthquake-proof structure was to be put up in 90 days. Yes, days. The cost was reportedly a steal: $1,500 per square meter, compared to $15,000 for the Burj Tower.

So where is the world’s tallest building? Apparently still in the factory in pieces. According to Oriental Outlook magazine, authorities in Changsha have withheld permits for Sky City because of concerns over safety, congestion and environmental impact. Broad signed an agreement last June with Wangcheng district government that budgeted the project at up to RMB4 billion ($645 million). This plan was based on completion in January. Broad had already acquired the land for RMB389 million ($62 million) Now it seems that Broad needs to argue its case again to regulators. Oriental Outlook reports that local experts aren’t too convinced by the technology and concerned about traffic congestion in the area (those 30,000 residents). There’s also the copycat problem: other districts in Changsha (population: 7 million) may want their own skyscrapers, making it even harder for urban planners. Presumably Broad would be only too happy to oblige. After all, it’s a quick turnaround.

Based in Changsha, central China, Broad (‘Yuanda’) is known for making giant air-con systems; its founder and CEO Zhang Yue has built an estimated fortune of $860 million

2. Despite being relatively new to the air purifier market, Hunan-based Broad Group has ambitious plans to dominate the sector and counter health-threatening pollution with its heat-recovery technology.

“Although we are now not even one of the top three air-purifier makers in China, we believe we will become No1 in the coming years,” said Hu Jie, general manager of the group’s air purifier unit, Broad Air Quality Tech. Those top three positions are occupied by Dutch group Philips, Japan’s Panasonic and local player Yadu, which together have about 77 per cent of market share, according to Beijing-based market researcher China Market Monitor.

Broad Group, a major air-conditioner manufacturer, was founded in 1988 and set up its air purifier subsidiary in 2005. Although it is younger than 25-year-old Yadu, Broad’s air purifiers have a famous user: they clear the air in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party leadership compound in Beijing.

Revenue quadrupled last year to one billion yuan (HK$1.23 billion) from a year earlier. “The strong growth has continued this year and we have received more orders than last year,” he said.

Air purifiers for areas of between 20 and 30 square metres were the company’s most popular, Hu said, claiming that Broad’s electrostatic cleaning system was unique compared with the products of its peers.

The technology filtered 95 per cent of PM2.5, he said. Most home air purifiers used paper filters to obstruct particles, Hu said. These could filter PM10 particles but were unlikely to catch PM2.5, he added.

“A number of property developers use our heat-recovery fresh air units in their new residential premises,” Hu said.

As air quality on the mainland was unlikely to improve in the short term, Hu said the market potential for air purifiers was infinite. The penetration rate of air purifiers in China was extremely low at 0.2 per cent, compared with 20 per cent in the United States and 15 per cent in Europe, he said.

He expects revenue from the air purifier market to post 50 per cent compound growth in the coming years. “Broad’s growth is likely to outpace the industry average.”

Targeting the middle- to high-end market, Broad Group’s products are priced between 3,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan. Hu said the growing middle class had become more willing to invest in their health care.

SOURCES – Forbes, South China Morning Post

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