New standards for “intelligent” ACs implemented in China

China implements new standard to officially define and set technological requirements for intelligent ACs. Additionally, a Chinese air-conditioning manufacturer is the first company in China to achieve a global certification for IoT security.

China leads the market for air conditioners, producing 70% of the world’s room air conditioners (AC). [1] As demand for cooling is increasing, “smart” ACs integrating artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are also more in demand. Chinese manufacturers offer a wide range of smart ACs that are connected with mobile applications and can be remotely controlled. Smart ACs offer the possibility to predict the occupant’s cooling demand and avoid energy use when unnecessary. [1]

A recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that China should “encourage greater use of cooling operations that are adapted to occupant behaviour and cooling needs”, for instance through policies urging the use of occupancy sensors and smart ACs. [1]


Standard for definition and general technology requirements


On March 1, 2020, China’s new national standard GB/T 37879-2019; “Intelligentization technology for intelligent household appliances – Particular requirements for room air conditioner” was officially implemented. [2]

The new standard gives the first official definition for “intelligent” air conditioners: “The  air  conditioner  which  adopts  intelligent  technology,  has  the  ability  to sense, make decisions, execute, learn, and feedback (including the ability to apply  learning  results);  comprehensively  utilizes  these  capabilities  to achieve specific functions.” [3]

This new standard will help consumers make informed purchase decisions. The rating goes from 1-star at the lowest to 5-star at the highest, based on an evaluation of safety, interconnection or interoperability, intelligent functions including those for human comfort, ease of use, energy savings, identification and description.

By offering a clear definition of the requirements for “intelligent” ACs, the new standard should also promote the evolution of intelligent air conditioners from low level to high level. The 5-star products must gain more than 90 points, 4-star products will have 80 to 90 points, 3-star products will have 70 to 80 points, 2-star products will have 60 to 70 points and 1-star products will have 50 to 60 points.


Standard for IoT security


Like any smart device, intelligent ACs may be susceptible to hacking. UL, the global safety certification organization, offers an IoT Security Rating which assesses critical security aspects of smart products against common attack methodologies and known IoT vulnerabilities. The IoT Security Rating categorizes IoT products according to an ascending five-level scale: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.


Midea, the Chinese air conditioning manufacturer, achieved a silver level rating for its connected products. The manufacturer is the first company in China to achieve UL’s IoT Security Rating. This rating shows that four of Midea’s air conditioning and dehumidifier product lines use industry best practices for Internet of Things (IoT) cybersecurity. The silver rating demonstrates baseline security capabilities, such as no default passwords, secure updates and connections, access controls and product security maintenance. [4]


For comparison, the diamond level rating provides comprehensive cybersecurity assurance. For instance, diamond level verifies that products can detect if malicious software is being inserted into the system and prevent such a code from altering the device. To achieve diamond rating, a connected product must also be protected against repeated failed log-in attempts as well as ensure that data collected is anonymized.


Verified products receive a UL Verified Mark and are evaluated on an ongoing basis. UL Verified Mark codes for Midea’s air conditioning and dehumidifier product lines can be accessed on the UL Verify website.


[1] The future of cooling in China: Delivering on action plans for sustainable air conditioning. See in FRIDOC.

[2] JARN, May 25, 2020