Midea-HefeiGERMANY: Bosch has announced plans to establish a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Midea to manufacture VRF air conditioners.

The joint venture is to be headquartered at the Midea production facility in Hefei. With production scheduled to start in January 2016, the JV will produce VRF for the global market. Products will be adapted to the differing demands of various regional markets and will be primarily offered under the Bosch brand by Bosch Thermotechnology worldwide.

“With excellent VRF systems from this joint venture, Midea CAC will further expand its HVAC business and share of the global market,” said Eric Tian, general manager of Midea CAC.

Bosch Thermotechnology sees the deal as an opportunity to further expand its technology portfolio and strengthen its market position as a systems provider in the commercial HVAC business.

“We believe the joint venture will offer Bosch promising growth prospects in the global HVAC market,” added Bosch Thermotechnology president Uwe Glock.

Bosch already offers a range of split systems in some countries, including Spain and the Middle East and was selling its Buderus brand splits since the 1980s. According to a company spokesman, the new VRF systems will be offered on a broader scale. In the initial phase, Bosch will focus on China and European countries as well as Russia and Kazakhstan. Ultimately, the target is to offer VRF products worldwide. Bosch Thermotechnology already has a presence in more than 90 countries worldwide with dedicated sales organisations.

Bosch has also been producing central air-conditioning, heat pumps and hvac equipment from its facility in Zibo, Shandong since January 2012. Bosch Thermotechnology acquired the facility following the takeover of Chinese manufacturer Oak, an €8m commercial/industrial HVAC manufacturer which itself had acquired GEA Happel’s Chinese subsidiary in 2006.

Midea already produces VRF equipment at its Hefei facility and has a history of experience with the technology. Having entered the central air conditioning market in 1999, Midea developed its first inverter VRF with Toshiba in 2000 and partnered with Copeland in 2001 to develop a digital scroll VRF system. It currently operates 11 product lines in Hefei, focusing on VRF, chillers, and heat pump water heaters.