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March 15, 2019

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Smarter home chefs, smarter gadgets

As China’s growing number of home chefs increasingly care about food safety and nutrition, they are creating a booming market for smarter home appliances.

Market leaders such as Midea and Whirlpool, along with several startups, showcased some of their new high-tech offerings — many with artificial intelligence — at yesterday’s opening day of the AWE Appliance and Electronics World Expo in Shanghai, Asia’s biggest such show.

Among the shiny new gadgets are refrigerators that control temperature and humidity based on whether you are storing steak or tuna, AI rice cookers that cook according to the type of grain and washing machines that automatically identify stains.

“Household appliances have been deeply integrated into a safe, healthy and conformable lifestyle to create happiness for people,” said Jiang Feng, president of the China Household Electrical Appliance Association.

Shenzhen-listed Midea Group, which invested 10 billion yuan (US$149 million) on research in 2018, displayed its smart fridge which uses AI sensors to detect different items in the unit, bringing intelligent cold delivery to vary treatment of such items as tuna and beef.

Midea also showed its “Rice Map of China” cooker using its database to determine the best way to cook thousands of varieties of rice. And Whirlpool’s new EMPEROR washing machine automatically identifies different clothing and stains.


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