Gorenje Group goes deeper into digital

Slovenian manufacturer Gorenje unveiled its moves to progress the smart kitchen at IFA 2018 just weeks after its takeover by the Chinese electronics firm Hisense at the end of June.

Visitors to the biggest consumer electronics fair in Europe were the first to experience a live demonstration of the new Gorenje ConnectLife platform, which will work with digital personal assistants, including Alexa, Google and Siri.

The ConnectLife platform and a brand new range of Gorenje connected appliances will enter the market in 2019.

Gorenje also used IFA to showcase its new 3-in-1 oven, WaveActive washers and dryers with patented drum design and its signature retro special-edition fridge modelled after the Volkswagen Minibus van in new colours: apple, olive and super-trendy copper.

Before the event, Franjo Bobinac, the president and CEO of Gorenje, said: “This is a major step for Gorenje Group toward successful realisation of its vision of a much more connected everyday life.”

In addition to his role at Gorenje, Bobinac was appointed vice-president for marketing of Hisense International last month as the Chinese company looks to integrate the 75-year-old eastern European firm into its global operations.

Bobinac is tasked with “realigning” the marketing strategies and efforts of all brands within the new brand portfolio of the Hisense Group.

Gorenje had been looking for a buyer for its business since last December and said last month that this process affected OEM deals in the first six months of the year.

Reporting half-year earnings in August, the firm said: “In addition to stringent competition, sales in our core activity were also affected in many markets by uncertainty related to the process of search for a strategic partner.

“This had a particularly strong impact on our collaboration with OEM partners and as a result, the scope of OEM deals was down by a good third.”

Gorenje said this hurt first-half sales, which, at €504.5 million (£449.8m), was 0.6% lower than in the first half of 2017.

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