The number of the countries where R32 models account for more than half of the split-type room air conditioner (RAC) market is increasing in Asia, Oceania, and Europe. The proportion of R32 models in the entire global split-type RAC market including Japan and China is estimated to have reached over 40% in 2019.Meanwhile, the market environment for commercial-use packaged air conditioners (PACs) is not yet sufficiently ready for a shift to R32 in many countries. Mainly Japan and Europe are promoting a shift to R32 in the PAC market.Here will discuss the tends of the usage of R32 in RACs, PACs and other air conditioners perspectively.
RACs Using R32
In the Japanese market where the world’s first air conditioner using R32 refrigerant was launched in 2012, the split-type RAC market has already shifted to R32.
Several major Japanese manufacturers are actively promoting a shift to R32 in overseas markets as well. Initially, R32 high-end RACs were launched in overseas markets in the same manner as in the Japanese market. Then, many major manufacturers launched several series of R32 RACs including volume-zone inverter RACs for mass retail sales in overseas markets.
Besides Japanese manufacturers, major Chinese and South Korean manufacturers are currently producing R32 RACs as well. Local manufacturers have started production of R32 air conditioners in emerging countries such as India, Thailand, and Turkey. Many local brands are not producing R32 air conditioners themselves, but are importing finished products or a full set of com- ponents and parts for local assembly of R32 RACs on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) basis.
Chinese and Korean manufacturers are exporting R32 splits mainly for Asia, Oceania, and Europe, and R32 window units mainly for North America and the Philippines.
In the spring of 2019, Panasonic launched local production and sales of R32 window units in both the Philippines and Taiwan. However, no other Japanese manufacturers have followed so far.
PACs Using R32
In 2013, R32 PACs with capacities of up to 14 kW for light commercial use were launched in the Japanese market. The local ductless PAC market has mostly shifted to R32. However, ducted PACs for industrial applications have yet to use R410A refrigerant.
Besides Japan, Fujitsu General launched the first R32 PACs in Australia in 2015, and Daikin launched such models in Europe and India in 2016. Then, major Japanese and Korean manufacturers followed both companies to launch R32 PACs, mainly in the European market.
In India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, the market environment for R32 PACs is not yet ready. Although Daikin alone has been promoting sales of R32 PACs in these regions since 2017, no other manufacturers have started full-scale sales yet.
Sales of R32 ducted PACs with capacities of up to 25 kW were launched in Australia in 2018 and in Europe in 2019, respectively.
Other Air Conditioners Using R32
In August 2018, Daikin launched the world’s first R32 VRF system with capacities of 22 to 28 kW in the Japanese market. Furthermore, in February 2020, Daikin Europe (DENV) held a European launching event for R32 mini-VRFs with capacities of 10 to 16 kW developed for the European market. The company plans to launch full-scale sales of such models in the fall of 2020.
Mitsubishi Electric launched sales of R32 Hybrid VRF (HVRF) with capacities of 22 to 56 kW in the European market in September 2018, with indoor units connected to a controller via water piping to reduce the volume of R32 circulating indoors. Then, the company also launched direct expansion (DX) type VRFs with capacities of 22 to 34 kW in September 2019 and started stock sales from January 2020. In addition, in the fall of 2019, Panasonic and LG announced the launching of R32 mini-VRFs in Europe.
In 2019, demand for R32 splits in the entire global market including Japan and China is estimated to have reached about 3.9 million units, this being a 1.5-fold increase compared with the previous year. A breakdown of global demand encompasses 9.8 million units in Japan, 18 million units in China, and 11 million units in the other regions.
The top eight countries, namely Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Italy, Australia, Malaysia, and Taiwan, have a total market share of more than 70% of the global R32 split-type RAC market excluding Japan and China.
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