Business Operations

Business Operations

  • Industrial and Commercial Markets

    During the national "13th Five-Year Plan" period, energy structure optimisation and environmental pollution controls have become the most prominent drivers for natural gas consumption. It is expected that the proportion of natural gas in primary energy will increase to 10% from 6%. At the same time, the country's recovery in industrial growth and its implementation of the strategy for efficient use of clean energy have brought new opportunities and challenges to the industrial and commercial gas market.

    Leveraging the benefits of new policies and market environment, we have captured many new business opportunities, consolidating our existing markets and embracing fresh challenges with the use of the most advanced technologies and innovative applications. We also keep expanding our markets and strengthening our project development whilst driving our ventures into new fields of energy. These moves are expected to invigorate and ensure the sustainable development of our industrial and commercial gas markets.

    Distributed Energy

    To expedite the use of natural gas in the industrial sector, the NDRC, together with 13 other departments, jointly promoted and endorsed the "Opinions on Accelerating the Utilisation of Natural Gas", which explicitly demands accelerated developments of natural gas distributed energy through promoting signature projects of natural gas distributed energy at places that have the needs for combined cooling, heating and power system, including energy load centres, industrial and logistics parks, tourist attractions, business centres, transportation hubs, hospitals and schools in large and medium-sized cities.

    In 2017, we put into operation several distributed energy projects, such as Snow Brewery in Xindu District in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, and the Luoshanhu Resort in Guilin City, with the total gas consumption reaching nearly 100 million cubic metres. TCEI confirmed a number of projects, including heat and power cogeneration as well as regional heating and heat supply in industrial areas. The total natural gas consumption is expected to reach 3.5 billion cubic metres by 2022. SCEI Distributed Energy Systems Co., Ltd. also signed eight investment agreements during the year.

    Boiler Conversion from Coal to Natural Gas

    According to the goals of National Energy Administration, China’s coal consumption proportion should be reduced to 60% in 2017 and falling further to below 58% during the "13th Five-Year Plan" period. We have thus aligned our project development strategies with the nation's coal-to-gas, clean energy and environmental policies to maintain our strong growth in the boiler conversion market. During the year, coal-to-gas boiler conversion projects contributed approximately 800 million cubic metres of gas consumption, which is 1.6 times higher than that of the previous year.

    Furnace Conversion from Coal to Natural Gas

    We are dedicated to research and innovation in industrial technology, seeking to develop new natural gas application technologies for different industrial production sectors. During the year, we introduced and upgraded energy-efficient technology to effectively promote the conversion of coal-fired furnaces to natural gas and reduce the gas consumption costs of our customers. In 2017, the more than 80 new furnace customers contributed to the sales of approximately 70 million cubic metres of gas.

    Small and Medium-sized Food Outlets

    To encourage small and medium-sized food outlets to use piped natural gas, we actively seek the support of local government authorities and make every effort to implement and publicise environmental and safety-related measures. By replacing bottled liquefied gas with piped natural gas, customers can enjoy the benefits of lower fuel costs and enhanced gas safety.

    Natural Gas Water Heating System

    Seizing opportunities in the market, the Group continues to expand its natural gas business in new industrial and commercial applications. We successfully developed and promoted a natural gas water heating system for commercial use. Given its features of low cost, space-saving, flexible installation and easy control, the product has brought in many new customers, including small to medium-sized hotels, schools and fitness centres in eastern China.

  • Residential Market

    The number of residential customers and the volume of gas sold recorded year-on-year growth of 8% and 10% respectively. We have also expanded our customer service network by setting up four additional customer centres during the year.

    We are committed to providing customers with safe and reliable energy as well as customer-centric services, to ensure the continuous upgrade of our service brand and image. According to a nationwide customer satisfaction survey by an independent consultant we engaged during the year, we gained the highest customer satisfaction ratings among the public utilities, such as providers of water, electricity and transportation services.

    To optimise our business platforms, we will integrate our resource advantages by combining our online customer centre Virtual Customer Centre (VCC) and Ganghua Pay. As a professional payment platform, Ganghua Pay will be integrated into VCC platform's payment channels, enabling VCC to operate as a one-stop portal, which addresses customer needs in a faster and more responsive manner. At the end of 2017, VCC earned the "2017 Top 10 Hybrid Cloud Users"; and "2017 Outstanding Hybrid Cloud Business Case"; in the "Outstanding Hybrid Cloud Business Cases and Top 10 Hybrid Cloud Users in China"; contest organised for the first time by Open Source Cloud Alliance for Industry (OSCAR) under the guidance of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. This critical acclaim and recognition from the industry denote the efforts we have made to take our online customer services to new heights.

  • Bauhinia Gas Appliances

    Bauhinia Gas Appliances

    Bauhinia stands for stringent product quality. The brand caters for the increasing product and service expectations of customers, which is particularly relevant in view of the rising household consumption standards in mainland China. The products under the brand are also highly innovative, as we seek to deliver more intelligent, comfortable and practical features to better meet customers' needs. We also strive to improve our after-sale systems and service competencies, and are determined to offer premium products and services to customers.

    Gas Dryers

    During the year, Bauhinia launched a number of marketing campaigns to target customer segments. These included product advertising on WeChat and launched free-trial promotion on mobile applications. In our three key markets – eastern, southwestern and southern China, Bauhinia offered "free trials" in the community, which allows target customers to experience first-hand the superior performance of our gas dryers, with a view to gradually switching them over to the products. In 2017, Bauhinia sold more than 8,000 gas dryers, leading to a 30% growth in the average gas consumption of residential gas dryer users.

    Gas Heating Appliances

    Benefiting from stable gas supplies and national environmental protection policies, the emerging household heating market saw an increasing demand for Combi boilers – more than 15,000 units were sold during the year, representing an increase of 35% compared with the previous year. Bauhinia also introduced the concept of "Comfort Home" during the year, launching our second-generation smart temperature control system, which features "Smart Temperature Controller + Mobile App" to highlight the intelligent, comfortable, energy-saving and safe performance of our gas heating systems.

    The Group encouraged our project companies to expand group-buying markets. To this end, we developed and published the "Technical Manual for Design and Installation of Bauhinia Heating Systems" during the year to guide the design and installation training of these heating systems in eastern, southwestern, northern and northeastern China.

    After-sales Services

    Quality after-sales service is the cornerstone of a brand's sustainability. Since inception, we have been committed to providing "three-year warranty and life-long maintenance" service for all Bauhinia products.

    To continuously improve service skills and the competencies of our after-sales teams, we hold the nationwide "Bauhinia After-sales Service Skills Competition" every year to motivate their learning and enhance their training. These efforts bore fruits as our Bauhinia after-sales service teams received increased recognition from our customers and our peers, winning the "Top 10 After-sales Service Providers in China" presented jointly by the China General Chamber of Commerce, China Foundation of Consumer Protection and National Product After-sales Service Assessment Committee.

  • Extended Services

    Towngas Lifestyle

    As a professional internet company within the Group, Towngas Lifestyle provides cloud service solutions for companies, building a reliable e-service platform. Towngas Lifestyle provides our customers with convenient and efficient internet and mobile operating platforms as well as one-stop comprehensive e-services offering kitchenware, eco-friendly food, gas insurance, gas detecting and alarm, among a host of other products and services.

    In 2017, we set up 13 kitchenware zones in our customer centres in various cities and offered a variety of some 3,000 items in the relevant product catalogues of WeChat Mall. Customers were thus able to gain easy access to our vast range of premium cookware from around all over the world. They can make either physical purchases or simply scan a QR code to submit their orders, enjoying more personalised and convenient shopping experience.

    Virtual Customer Centre (VCC) Platform

    VCC is the Group's one-stop internet service platform. It is managed by Towngas Lifestyle's professional team who closely cooperates with China Mobile Communications Group in cloud computing resources and routing, offering a high level of network and data security equivalent to that for financial institutions.

    Towngas Lifestyle Card

    In 2017, the Group introduced a membership card exclusively for its gas users. It is designed to combine online and offline customer experience via the VCC's membership scheme to build stronger customer relations. At the end of 2017, it has 840,000 “fans”.

    Gas Insurance Business

    We teamed up with Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance Company of China and the Huatai Insurance Group to launch home insurance for residential customers. Thanks to its low premium costs, which nevertheless offers comprehensive coverage to gas users, the service was well-received by customers. The gas insurance business has been extended to 45 city gas projects and further expanded into industrial and commercial markets in Mianyang, Changchun and Jianyang.

    Mia Cucina

    Mia Cucina, our high-end kitchen cabinet brand known for its exquisite craftsmanship of Hong Kong design and quality standards, aims to offer mainland customers elegant, ergonomic and fashionable cabinets using stringently-selected materials and accessories imported from Europe. The brand repositioned its promotional strategy during the year to focus on furnished apartment market. The brand also expanded its retail sales by showcasing Mia Cucina cabinets at our customer centres in a number of cities to provide discerning customers with modern and stylish Total Kitchen Solutions.