Pressing lightly on the button of the central-control computer, Marie Ramampy from Madagascar surprisingly found the air-conditioner behind her was turned on immediately.
"That's amazing," said Ramampy. "I only learned about the home network from the news before, but who can imagine that I'd see the real example here in Haier!"
As a member of the delegation of ruling parties from nine African countries, Ramampy and her friends were visiting the Qingdao-based Haier Group Monday, a leading Chinese home appliance manufacturer.
The delegation toured around 11 exhibition halls in Haier Group, seeing with their own eyes various kinds of household electrical appliances, such as TVs, refrigerators, air-conditioners, computers, mobile phones and DVDs.
The African guests were greatly impressed by the smart designs and advanced technology of the products, and expressed their appreciation.
"It is really incredible that Haier can manufacture almost anything we can imagine," said Habibou from Niger, the head of the delegation, while playing table-tennis with a body-building inter- communication TV.
"This TV is of great interest, and it will attract senior citizens like me to do exercising at home," he said.
In the air-conditioner hall, pointing at a certain model air- conditioner, Assedi from Togo said excitedly, "I got a similar one at home last year."
"The air-conditioner made by Haier is of high-quality and its price is also competitive compared with those made in Korea and Japan," he said, adding that even the government buildings in his country like the foreign ministry began to use the Haier air- conditioners.
According to a sales manager of the African Division in Haier, the group has opened five overseas plants in Africa, which are located respectively in Tunis, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa. The sales volume of Haier to Africa in 2004 amounted to nearly 27 million US dollars, and Haier products have covered more than 20 African countries.
Learning that there is still no plant in central or east Africa, Bayingana from Rwanda recommended his country to the sales manager. "You will not regret it if your group chooses Rwanda to explore your market in central or east Africa, and it will be beneficial for both nations if we can cooperate with each other," he said.
When concluding the visit to Haier, the delegates clustered around the sales manager asking for name cards and advertising brochures.
"Haier products boast advanced technology and high quality. After going back to Africa, everyone of us will become a volunteer 'spokesperson' for Haier in each country," said Habibou.
The delegation is here as the guest of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. Shandong, a coastal province in east China, is the third leg of their 16-day study and investigation tour in China.
They will head for Zhucheng, a city famous for its booming township enterprises, after wrapping up their visit in Qingdao.
Prior to their visit in Shandong, the delegation had attended a seminar on forging Sino-African party relations in Beijing and visited northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
The 17 members of the delegations are from ruling parties in Cameroon, Djibouti, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Niger, Rwanda, Seychelles and Togo.