China’s hermetic reciprocating compressor market experienced rapid growth in 2020September 2021

The Chinese Association of Refrigeration and BSRIA have been cooperating on a study on the Chinese refrigeration market for the past seven years and released their annual report on “The Analysis on the development of the Chinese refrigeration industry. BSRIA also published a report on China AC, Ref and HP compressors across all the compressor technologies earlier this year.

According to the latest report, the total sales volume of Chinese hermetic reciprocating compressors reached about 200 million units in 2020, rising by 14.5%. The domestic market was 130 million units with a growth of 15.6%; the export market increased by about 12.4% to 71 million units. 

Sales of Chinese hermetic reciprocating compressor in the domestic market, 2015-2021 (in units)

In the domestic market, three major refrigerants-R600a, R134a, R290 dominate for domestic refrigerators and freezers, with R600a accounting for over 70%. R134a has been decreasing gradually, with R134a being mainly used for the export market of domestic refrigerators and freezers. At present, R290 still only account for a small share, mainly used for the freezers, but it is expected to see fast growth, due to the perceived advantages on quick-freezing and ability to reach temperatures as low as -30℃, which is quite difficult for R600a. The function of quick-freezing will become a key selling point for freezers. 

As for the commercial hermetic reciprocating compressors, three major refrigerants dominate: R134a, R290 and R404a, with each of them representing a similar proportion. It is reported that the proportion of R290 has increased significantly, firstly as compressors with R290 have advantages on energy efficiency and noise reduction, and the aftersales system in China has been gradually improved in recent years, which has accelerated the shift of in refrigerants. Secondly, the export market, many countries and regions like Europe and America are promoting R290. Compressors with R290 are of high performance, but the cost is low. To make the production standardized, the compressor manufacturers accelerated the speed of shifting to R290. According to BSRIA’s report, the sales volume of R290 compressors sold in the domestic market reached about 10 million units in 2020, rising by about 30%. It is forecasted that it will continue to see fast growth in the foreseeable future. 

It is expected that the domestic market of hermetic reciprocating compressors will continue to maintain rapid growth in 2021, mainly because the export orders of domestic refrigerators and freezers increased. The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, to some extent, has driven the customers’ demand for food storage, which will have pushed the investment in domestic refrigerators and freezers. However, the production hasn’t recovered to normal in many countries for both the domestic refrigerator and freezer manufacturers and compressor manufacturers. China’s production resumed earlier and hence there has been less impact on the domestic market. As a result, most of the world’s orders are concentrated in China and the Chinese manufacturers have full order books for domestic refrigerators, freezers and compressors. At the same time, many Chinese local governments have launched relevant policies to encourage the development of a “street vending economy”, which will also benefit the hermetic reciprocating compressor market in China.

For further details of BSRIA’s World compressor report or China Refrigeration report, please contact BSRIA or visit our website for information on our recently published reports:

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