The market for air purifiers in China is predicted to pass the RMB 100 billion mark ($15 billion) this year, with existing electronics brands moving into the sector as well as suppliers of the technologies involved expected to benefit as the market heads towards RMB 300 billion by 2020. A German company is part of a group that has just made the biggest ever single investment in a Chinese air purifying company.

Air pollution has increasingly caught the attention of the public and politicians alike. Beijing is one of the country’s most polluted cities and recent figures that showed that the air has not improved this year compared to last have added further pressure on the government. Various new policies have been introduced to counter the chronic issue this winter. More environmental monitoring staff are being sent out to inspect factories, construction work could be suspended and the use of coal has been further restricted.

According to the release to media of some of the figures from Qianzhan Chanye Research Institute’s “China Air Purifier Market Demand Forecast and Investment Analysis Report”—released as Beijing and surrounding area was under the pall of an orange warning for air pollution—sales of air purifiers have reached 5,740,000 units, up 19.3% on the previous year. Domestic producers are predicted to maintain growth of shipments of 30-35% in coming years.

Netease air filter
Yanxuan air filter made by net portal Netease

For safety concerns, foreign brands had been preferred with even big names such as Xiaomi previously heavily criticized by Chinese media for quality issues. Domestic brands are beginning to catch up, however, with some trusted air quality apps such as those by Netease now crossing over into production.

352Huanbao Keji (352Enviroment Technology. “352” is a reference to doing something efficiently), an air filter developer and producer established in 2014, has today received over RMB 200 million in first round funding including Bertelsman Asian Investments (BAI) the Asian investment arm of German media investment group. Other investors in the round include Matrix Partners China and Huatai Xin Chanye (Ever VC).

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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