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[Herald Interview] Staying cool in summer

Dehumidifier maker Winix plans to reenter U.S. market next year

Winix, once a parts supplier for Samsung Electronics’ refrigerators and water dispensers in the 1980s, has grown into a leading dehumidifier manufacturer in South Korea, beating home appliance giants including LG Electronics.

Dunstin Yoon, senior director of Winix’s management innovation, said the company will make all-out efforts to retain its leadership in the dehumidifier market, especially during July and August, the hottest and most humid months of year.

“We will continuously forge ahead to maintain our 50 percent market share this year,” said Yoon, forecasting that the market would reach 800 billion won ($775 million) this year.

Despite recent challenges by Samsung and LG, he said Winix is confident that it can maintain its loyal customers and attract new ones with its high product quality.

The company’s flagship dehumidifier Bbosong, which means soft and dry, can absorb up to 1 liter of water an hour. It won an Energy Winner award from a consumer advocacy group and the state-run Korea Energy Management Corp. for its performance efficiency last year.

Bbosong’s strength is its low noise level and ergonomic design, with a five-year extended warranty, which is longer than the average one-year for most other products on the market. 
Dunstin Yoon, Winix senior director. (Park Hyun-koo/ The Korea Herald)
Dunstin Yoon, Winix senior director. (Park Hyun-koo/ The Korea Herald)

“We focus especially on minimizing low-frequency noises since they travel farther than high-pitched noises and bother people the most,” he said.

The folding handle on the top of the product helps users easily move the dehumidifier equipped with four 360-degree rotating wheels wherever they want.

The director said the firm is considering once again making inroads into the U.S. market next year.

The company last tried to expand into North America in 2011. Although it received a positive response then, it had to put its U.S. business on hold as the company could not simultaneously meet orders from Korea and the U.S.

Yoon, however, said it would be able to carry out orders this year as it has increased its production capacity.

Winix, which started rolling out dehumidifiers in 1997, was the only Korean electronics maker that made them until 2010.

The company remained the market leader even after competitors started releasing new products.

The market has grown almost twofold every year since then.

By Kim Young-won (