Full text: The electrical equipment market of the Netherland East Indies

The predominance of American automobiles in the Netherland 
East Indies has resulted in a fairly good demand for American 
storage batteries. In 1928 this territory ranked as the sixteenth 
most important consuming country for storage batteries exported 
from the United States. 
The majority of storage batteries are sold through manufacturers’ 
agents specializing in the marketing of automobile accessories, 
although several well-known American makes are distributed through 
import houses. ‘During the last few years, however, there has been 
a tendency on the part of the Chinese motor-car-accessory dealers, 
who practically control the retailing of automobile accessories, to 
secure direct connections with American storage-battery manufac- 
turers, which has led to considerable competition in this line. Amer- 
ican firms interested in exporting storage batteries to the Netherland 
East Indies have little chance of doing so unless their prices are 
competitive or below those of the manufacturers who are now selling 
in this market. 
European firms also obtain a share of the storage-battery trade. 
One of them, the manufacturer of the Varta battery, finds it profitable 
enough to maintain branch houses in the most important cities. 
The principal demand is for 6-volt, 11-plate batteries for use in 
light, low-priced American cars. 
Numerous American manufacturers have made vain efforts to ex- 
port household electric appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, electric 
grills and toasters, electric washing machines, and electric refriger- 
ators to the Netherland East Indies. In 1928 the total exports of 
domestic electric appliances from the United States amounted to 
approximately $25,000. Continental and English manufacturers are 
obtaining less business in these lines than American manufacturers, 
which indicates the limited demand for them in the Netherland 
East Indies. 
There are several reasons why the sales of domestic household 
appliances have been small, the principal one being the abundant 
supply of cheap and fairly efficient household labor. In addition to 
this, the electric household appliance, no matter how simple, re- 
quires some one to operate it; and there are few European women in 
the Netherland East Indies who would consider cleaning their 
homes with a vacuum cleaner or ironing the family wash. They are 
not solicitous over the amount of labor required of their servants 
and are not inclined to spend money to make their work easier. 
Until recently, the rates charged by the public-utility companies 
did not favor the use of household appliances, but during the last 
year the power companies, realizing the possibilities of an increase 
in business, have been offering more favorable monthly rates to the 
owners of electric household appliances. It is believed that the sales 
of household appliances in the Netherland East Indies could be 
increased by sales and educational campaigns on the part of the 
local agents or distributors. 
Fans. —Despite the fact that the climate of the Netherland East 
Indies is tropical throughout the vear, few electric fans are used.

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