Qingdao is an economic powerhouse. Evidence of this can be seen all over China (and overseas), just look for Qingdao/青岛 on the label next to where it says Made In China. Some of the nation’s largest companies produce electric vehicles, refrigerators, air conditioners, television sets, coffee, and hometown fave, beer. Here’s a rundown of five fantastic Qingdao brands to be found all over the world.
Haier originally made fridges as part of the Qingdao-Liebherr Sino-German joint venture. Now Haier’s product line includes mobile phones, air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions, dishwashers, water heaters and in the US, even kegerators. There were once rumblings of a Haier auto plant being contemplated, though the Brothers Haier have yet to become a hood ornament icon. A sponsor of the Olympics and the NBA, Haier owns and operates a factory in America and owns some prime real estate in Manhattan.
The light industrial super rival of Haier, Hisense grew out of the consumer electronics group that once made Qingdao brand televisions. Today Hisense is a leading real estate developer and local department store baron with an extensive portfolio including all kinds of home appliances like washing machines, microwaves, toasters, blenders and even bread makers. Hisense also manufactures telecommunications devices such as smartphones, wireless phones and PC data cards. The company’s commitment to the arts is such that Hisense has been supporting the world class Qingdao Symphony Orchestra for years.
Of the Big 3 appliance makers from Qingdao, Aucma is the one that is least known and may turn out to be the most important as the world turns to greener technologies such as electric vehicles. Aucma makes a line of electric bicycles and cars and is also responsible for a large amount of China’s commercial freezers, washing machines, heating radiators, air purifiers, solar water heaters, even TV assembly lines in Kenya. The motto of Aucma is “Good, Better, Best, Never Let It Rest”, which takes longer to say but packs more rhyme than “Higher and Haier”.
This is hands down the most recognizable and welcomed Qingdao brand in the world, and probably always will be, since, you know, people like beer. Most hops quaffers readily admit that this is good beer, and an open secret is that it gets even better on “Beer Street”, which is Dengzhou Lu to those looking on maps. That’s the place with delicious fresh draught just at the gate to the original brewery, at the Tsingtao Brewery Beer Bar and the many bars masquerading as restaurants along the road… try the black beer, you’ll smack your lips. Tsingtao is the gold standard for Chinese beer, and a decent German style lager at that. As QINGDAO(nese) say each August at the Qingdao International Beer Festival, “Ganbei with the world!”
Surf Plaza Resort is just one of many explanations of the acronym of this Qingdao based company. Many coffee lovers in China believe that SPR is an overseas brand but they’re wrong – SPR is headquartered in Qingdao, having grown from a small cafe on the Shilaoren beach to a caffeine juggernaut with hundreds of locations in over 60 cities (and a few airports for good measure) in China. When Starbucks first came to Qingdao, there was a discussion about who made better coffee. QINGDAO(nese) usually vote for SPR.
Official Haier website
Official Hisense website (Chinese)
Official Hisense website (English)
Official Aucma website (Chinese)
Official Aucma website (English)
Official Tsingtao Beer website
Official Tsingtao Beer website (US)
Official SPR Coffee website
Official SPR corporate website (Chinese)