Thin-film maker Hanergy, which has been the subject of recent press reports over “unusual” share trading, has opened a number of retail stores in its homeland, China.
Over the weekend the company opened stores and “user-experience centres”, 60 altogether. The stores are in regions including Shanghai and Guangzhou, with a flagship outlet in Chengdu. Hanergy has also launched a new online store and a portal on the shopping site Alibaba. It is thought the shops will be used to market Hanergy’s residential rooftop PV solutions although the company sells a number of other consumer products including portable arrays for the camping and outdoor leisure markets. According to the company, residential systems will be sold with an initial three-year manufacturer's warranty through the stores.
Hanergy is one of the first big PV companies to attempt to make its presence a household name through branding and retail. The company has been retail partner of Swedish home furnishing store IKEA for selling home PV systems in the UK since late 2013. According to reports, the company is looking to expand its retail presence further in the near future, planning to get the number of its own stores and “experience centres” up to 300 in China by the end of this year and 1,500 worldwide in 2017.
However, just before the weekend Hanergy was compelled to issue a statement on its website, defending itself over recent questions that have been asked over share trading patterns that a few weeks ago left the company’s billionaire head, Li Hejun as the richest man in mainland China.
In January the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times both attempted to scrutinise the sources of the company’s wealth, after the publication of a research note by analyst Charles Yonts at Hong Kong-based investment firm CLSA. This was followed at the beginning of this month by a request by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, on which the group is listed, to explain unusual share trading patterns that caused a surge in share price and record volumes of trading.
The company also responded before the weekend to media reports that it said “contained inaccuracies in regards to the Group’s situation”. Hanergy Thin Film Power Group said in its statement that it has “no knowledge of the specific reasons for the fluctuations of the share price and trading volume of Hanergy Thin Film”.
Hanergy will hold a board meeting to discuss the performance of the group including its subsidiaries up to 31 December 2014, on 30 March.