- Domestic and overseas patents now stand at approximately 2,000
- The boost in R&D investments lays the foundation for sustainable growth
Last year, Coway, “The Best Life Solution Company,” set a record for the largest spending on research and development for strengthening technological competitiveness and securing proprietary technologies.
Coway invested KRW 48 billion in R&D in 2021, up 15% from the previous year, marking its largest-ever annual investment. This figure is well above the average R&D spending made within South Korea’s environmental home appliance industry, which stands at around KRW 20 billion.
Notably, this spike in R&D spending took place after the acquisition by Netmarble. Since being acquired, Coway’s R&D expenditure increased by 30% from KRW 38 billion in 2019.
Coway’s research and development are centralized in the company’s proprietary R&D center, the Coway Environmental Technology Research Institute, which consists of the Design Center, the TQA (Trust & Quality Assurance) Center, and a product technology laboratory. The R&D center, with over 500 researchers, the industry’s largest workforce, develops a vast range of environmental appliances ranging from water purifiers to air purifiers, bidets, and clothing purifiers sold domestically and internationally to global markets including Malaysia, the USA, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan, and Europe.
The company’s research and development departments are organized into a systematic structure. Coway Environmental Technology Research Institute is in charge of developing and commercializing domestic and foreign products, plus new technologies. The TQA Center is responsible for product quality and safety-related issues. And the Design Center creates product interfaces and user experiences.
Coway's bold boost in R&D investment has led to the creation of more innovative products, domestic and international patents, and proprietary technologies. The company currently holds over 2,000 domestic and international patent registrations, the highest in the industry. The number of patent registrations rose sharply from 1,107 in 2019 to 1,946 in 2021. Intellectual property rights, including trademarks, amount to 6,500 as of 2021.
The premium design appliance range ‘NOBLE,’ launched by Coway last year, has created a stir in the domestic environmental home appliance market with its top-notch technology and signature sensuous design. Notably, the NOBLE Water Purifiers feature Coway’s innovative Smart Motion Faucet technology. A first in South Korea, the technology conceals the faucet within the main body when not in use and automatically reveals itself when it detects user movement. In addition to this, the NOBLE Induction Cooktops also feature the innovative All-Free Smart Auto Sensing technology, which allows borderless cooking with the entire cooktop as one large burner. As this is also a first in the market, it has attracted more new customers to the company.
Coway is also striving to diversify its business and pioneer new markets with new filter technology. Recently, Coway broke into the Point of Entry (PoE) filter market with its own technology. PoE filters are water purifier filter systems installed into the main water supply pipe that enters the house. Typically, this technology is common mainly in business sites.
Coway has been conducting research on PoE filters based on its 30+ years of expertise in the water purifier industry. As a result, Coway has recently developed a revolutionary PoE filter suitable for domestic use that can be used for 12 months by an average family of four. Coway, which established a strong position in the PoE filter market through its partnership with DL E&C, plans to introduce a new business model for apartment water treatment systems.
The company plans to continue increasing its investment in R&D this year. In the FY2022 Guidance Announcement in March, Coway showed a strong will to continue dominating the market by strengthening IT investments for customer service and R&D investments for product innovation.
A Coway official said: “We are creating growth engines while laying the foundations for further sustainable growth through our commitment to R&D and consistent innovative product launches.”
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