Footnote: Interview with Midea

Peck Zhao, marketing manager at Midea Commercial Air-conditioners, talks about the company’s next-generation VRF systems

INTERVIEWS, MEP, Midea, VRF system V6

Describe the new-generation VRF system V6 recently launched in Dubai. How is it different?

Midea V6 offers larger capacity and reduced footprint; we believe that the V6 has the world’s largest capacity with single module outdoor unit at 38HP and a combination capacity at 128HP.

At the same time, the V6 provides a 40% reduction in footprint compared to the previous generation. With the integration of EMS (energy management system), V6 would be able to adjust evaporating temperature (in cooling) and condensing temperature (in heating) to maximise the comfort and energy efficiency automatically.

V6 is able to work within a wide operation range from -25℃ to 54℃, which provides constant comfort even in extreme condition. The other features are high efficiency, high reliability, an intelligent control system that connects with any intelligent building system using the new IMM pro platform, and a Mr. Doctor functionality that allows the V6 system to automatically test, self-diagnosis, and display error codes.

What can we expect from Midea in 2017 in terms of its penetration and market strategy in the Middle East market?

Midea has established sales distributors in the UAE and expanded sales under its own brand. The updated new products and improvement of after-service will help Midea to penetrate the market from medium-scale projects to large-scale and government-related projects.

How do you see the market shaping up in 2017 and why?

The Middle East is moving quickly to implement higher energy-efficiency standards and refrigerant regulations, which is forcing manufacturers to rapidly adapt to the changing conditions.
ESMA, the emirates authority for standardization and metrology, has issued a standard of minimum energy performance values and energy label for residential single package and duct-less split type air conditioners; in addition commercial, industrial ducted split, VRF air conditioners, and heat pumps have also entered into force. According to ESMA, products are not allowed for sale in the UAE market after November 2015 without proper labels of energy efficiency.

Saudi Arabia has the strictest Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) among the GCC countries, established by the Saudi Standards Quality and Metrology Organization (SASO). Bahrain and Qatar have enforced energy labelling and MEPS that are very similar to SASO requirements. Dubai is phasing down imports of R22, and Abu Dhabi does not allow the use of R22 air conditioners in projects involving the Urban Planning Council (UPC). Saudi Arabia has already implemented HCFC regulations to phase out R22 refrigerants.

What are the current trends in the HVAC sector in the Middle East according to you?

Political instability has affected the Middle East for a long time, and its air conditioner market has lost the strong growth momentum experienced in the past. However, the Middle Eastern climate makes air conditioners a necessity, and the region’s air conditioner market holds great potential, even if there are immediate uncertainties.

Where are the opportunities for growth and why?

Rise in urban population and unprecedented growth in infrastructure developments are driving factors in the rise in demand for HVACR products in the GCC region. The UAE maintained relatively stable political status among the Middle Eastern countries. The local economy was driven by overseas investment and tourism. The population continues to grow and has strong purchasing power. The local market is expected to have growth potential in the long run. Currently, the projects linked to the world EXPO 2020 can bring about several 

What are the main challenges in the market and why? How will these be overcome?

The Middle East has a tropical-desert climate with harsh operating conditions including high outdoor temperatures and sandstorms known as tropic T3 working conditions. An HVAC manufacturer such as Midea has invented the full range of tropical products for the Middle East market.

The challenge comes from the unstable economy and consolidation of competition. We will invest more on the brand building and strengthen the relationships between Midea distributors and the project decision makers, such as officials of the government, urban construction institutions, consultants, and developers.

What other new products will you be launching in 2017-2018?

Inverter technology V6 seems as the future of the HVAC applications. Since the invention of VRF 30 years ago, the technology is now gaining attention world over, particularly in the Middle East market.

We are gearing up to take advantage of our wide product ranges from Midea and Clivet (an Italian HVAC manufacturer recently acquired by Midea) to introduce them in the Middle East market. 

New products will include new generation V6 series VRF, inverter rooftop package, US-style ducted split, VFDD (variable frequency direct drive) centrifugal chillers, as well ATW heat pump hot water applications, to suit the GCC region. The existing models will continue to remain in the GCC market.

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