Leading Entrepreneurs

Zhang Ruimin--CEO of Haier Group

Zhang Ruimin, CEO of Haier Group, is envied for his gloriously obtained honors: MBA of USTC (University of Science and Technology of China), Senior Economist, Chinese Management Master, "1997 Entrepreneur Award" by the Asia Weekly, 26th place of "1999 World Top 30 Most Respected Entrepreneur" by the Financial Times, Forbes cover star of the Aug 6, 2002 edition, and so on.

In 1984, Zhang Ruimin took over Qingdao Refrigerator Plant, which bore a loss of 1.47 million yuan at that time. Through 20 years stable development, however, it has become a worldwide-recognized large-scale enterprise - Haier Group, who now manufactures a wide range of household electrical appliances in 96 categories with 15,100 specifications and exports products to more than 160 countries. In 2003, Haier's global sales hit 80 billion yuan and Haier brand topped all Chinese trademarks at a nationwide survey.

Under Zhang's leadership, Haier is implementing its globalization strategy. Its international promotion framework encompasses global networks for design, production, distribution and after-sales services. Haier has established 18 design institutes, 10 industrial complexes, 22 overseas production factories and 58,800 sales agents worldwide. Haier's current domestic market share for refrigerators, freezers, air-conditioners and washing machines is around 30%. Haier products are marketed in 12 out of 15 European chain supermarkets and 10 America's. Haier design, production and sales facilities in the United States and some European countries are staffed by local employees. All Haier overseas factories are in operation.

Facing the challenges brought by E-commerce and China's entry into the WTO, Haier began a management restructuring program in 1998 backed by the efficient Haier market-chain system and order process performance, focusing on improving information dissemination for contract performance, logistics, capital investment, after-sales services and inventory and operation cost reduction. Haier's production and management system restructuring has enabled the company to make full use of internal and external resources. Haier's worldwide logistics, distribution and manufacturing facilities ensure customers' satisfaction through its efficient operation. In 2002, Haier achieved success in the sectors of home integration, telecommunications, software and financial services. Haier was authorized by the central government to organize and supervise the preparation of 4 Chinese technical standards.

Haier's management philosophy and corporate culture are admired and are the subject of research by overseas scholars. Haier's achievements and experiences have been incorporated into archives and used as MBA teaching material by Harvard University, the European Business College and Lausanne Management College. The core of Haier's development is "Creativity, Speed and SBU", with an aim to be one of the world top 500 enterprises.