This Swiss Appliances Company Is Gathering Steam on Chinese Smog

by eggplant in BFI

At CHF11,000 (USD 11,300) a pop, Metall Zug AG’s “Refresh Butler” is no ordinary steam cleaner. But it may be key to the Swiss maker of luxury household appliances’ big leap into China. The Zug-based company is counting on the steaming closet that can rid business suits of the lingering smells of smoke and smog to increase its foothold in Asia’s biggest economy as it takes steps to sell more of its household appliances abroad. “It’s a door opener,” Chief Executive Officer Juerg Werner said in a May 16 interview at the company’s headquarters in Zug. To the company’s surprise, the product is proving popular in China, where airing clothing can be difficult in cities due to smog and poor air quality, Werner said.“People in China smoke a lot,” he said. “I spent some four to five hours in thick smoke when I was there — it stank like crazy.” “It’s a narrow segment we’re serving here, in China, too,” Werner said. “The top end is relatively thin. Nevertheless, we managed to win some top projects in China recently,” he said, declining to provide details.

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