Fisher Paykel Appliances is creating 100 new jobs in a bid to expand its research and development arm.
The plans are being driven by its Chinese-based parent company Haier, which will also use the staff to design new products and technology for its brand.
About a third of the staff will be based in Dunedin, with the rest working in Auckland.
Fisher Paykel chief executive Stuart Broadhurst said on Thursday he hoped the increased focus on product design would make the company a more dominant global figure in the whiteware market.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter McIntyre said the new jobs are a huge vote of confidence in the South Island city and a bit of an oddity at a time when hundreds of manufacturing jobs are being cut throughout New Zealand.
Business New Zealand said the announcement reflects major change within the manufacturing sector. Chief executive Phil O'Reilly said it is becoming more hi-tech and employers are emphasising knowledge-based development.
However, Mr O'Reilly said as technology improves, the cost of manufacturing becomes cheaper - resulting in cuts to basic labour jobs.