Succeeding in the Chinese lock and security market


China’s sheer size and population present both an exciting prospect and a daunting challenge for any company, as for ASSA ABLOY.

Selling locks in China is still beset by traditional low pricing structures and a reluctance to pay higher prices for security solutions, particularly in the countryside where big international brands are virtually unknown. Yet rising living standards and increasing safety requirements are providing the impetus for better security solutions and more choice of product.

ASSA ABLOY entered the Chinese market through the acquisition of Guli Security Products in 2001, as part of the acquisition of the Yale Group. At the time, Yale was an international brand manufactured and distributed by Guli in China, together with Guli’s own renowned local brand. Yale faced the difficulties of the lack of brand awareness and no premium product distribution channel.

Today, the Chinese market gets individual attention and solutions to suit market tastes and needs. Irene Yip, general manager of ASSA ABLOY Hong Kong, says this is part of a three-stage process to provide the market with its own distinctive products. One example is the home-grown Eternity series of mortise locks, first shown at the Shanghai Expo together with other new product ranges, haves been launched on the Chinese market and haves gathered favorable feedback from the local customer market.

As ASSA ABLOY Group’s local manufacturer, Guli has expanded from the residential retail market to offer a full range of commercial and residential door and window control systems, and is now ASSA ABLOY’s largest-scale manufacturing base for professional locksets in Asia. Apart from offering a full range of Group products, it is also focusing on manufacturing to specific local markets and standards. Guli was the first manufacturer to produce door and window control system products to a variety of Chinese public authority, fire and police standards.

Guli is also placing emphasis on products and channels that are specific to the local market. Its latest development is aimed at the growing home styling and decorating market. For the first time in China, Decorative Design Centers allow the style-conscious to select door and window-opening devices that will complement their choice of interiors.