China Reversible Cooling & Heating units Market OverviewNovember 2021

With the improvement of people's living standards, the increase in market consumption, and the rapid growth of residential heating market demand in southern China, sales of reversible units have been growing rapidly thanks to their advantages in terms of energy saving, comfort and environmental aspect. 

Chiller manufacturers entered this market at an early stage in China. By introducing air-to-water reversible units and promoting them actively via their channel partners, the technology gained popularity. They are marketed as “upper water groundwater units" in China. As a result, residential split manufacturers decided to do the same: they launched reversible system based on VRF technology, and gained traction. VRF is very similar to air-to-water reversible units by function and application. However, it’s an air-based reversible with an additional hydronic module to provide sanitary hot water and space heating. They are also considered by the same type of end-users.

In 2020, the total market size of reversible units reached 100,000 units. Among them, air-to-water units take the biggest share of the market due to higher product awareness. The share of reversible VRF is lower at the moment but given the sharp growth rate recorded by AC suppliers the potential is high in the coming years. 

The chart below indicates the expansion BSRIA expect in the coming years.

China Reversible Cooling & Heating Market, Sales Volume, 2020-2025f

From an application point of view, reversible units used to be popular only in the high-end residential market, such as villas or large-scale flats. As market awareness rose and the demand from the market saturated, reversible heat pumps started gaining ground in the middle-end market, especially in residential projects with 120-220 square meter average floor area. Manufacturers have gradually developed new models with smaller capacity to meet the needs of smaller dwellings.

By region, in areas where individual heating systems dominate, reversible units are very popular. A clear example is in Eastern China — the most economically developed region. As economic growth accelerates and expands across the whole territory of China, the South Western provinces are undoubtedly seeing a rapid growth notably thanks to the development of Chengdu-Chongqing metropolitan area, and the rising need for space heating.

For further details of BSRIA’s Air Conditioning & Heat Pump reports, please contact our Worldwide market Intelligence team. 

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