Born-2-Invest Magazine

   

CEO Spotlight: Haier Group’s Zhang Ruimin

   

Zhang Ruimin transformed Haier from a bankrupt company into a global leader in producing high-quality home appliances.

   

Published on April 15, 2018

By Andrew Ross

   

The Haier Group is one of the world’s leading appliance makers. The man credited behind its success is no other than CEO Zhang Ruimin. Read on to learn how he transformed the once-bankrupt company into the global force it is today.

   

Brief Background:

   

Zhang Ruimin was born on January 5, 1949, in Laizhou, Shandong. According to the book “The Haier Way,” by Jeannie Jinsheng Yi, Zhang failed to get a college degree because of the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1969. But that did not stop him from acquiring powerful knowledge. He worked at a construction factory in Qingdao and quickly learned, by sheer determination, the ins and outs of the system. He was soon promoted to Deputy Director, after just twelve years working at the factory.

   

He was then appointed as the General Manager of the Qingdao Refrigerator Plant, which was embroiled in debt worth ¥1.47 million. He realized that their products’ poor quality was a big factor in explaining why their products failed to make sales and impressions. In a bid to turn things around, he invited factory workers to destroy substandard refrigerators that the company had made, which left a huge impression on the workforce. Soon enough, the emphasis was refocused toward making high-quality products. In 1986, Qingdao Refrigerator realized eighty-three percent sales growth that year, per Funding Universe.

   

In 1991, Qingdao Refrigerator was renamed Qingdao Haier Group, and later on dropped “Qingdao” in the company name. Zhang subsequently enrolled at the University of Science and Technology of China, and he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration there.

   

Career at Haier Group:

   

Haier has grown to being more than just an appliance maker. It now provides services, such as offering water safety tips, and it leads other initiatives focused on how to improve the quality of life in both China, and in other developing nations.

   

Haier has also customized its products according to the needs of a particular region or country. In Pakistan, Haier washing machines are larger than the traditional footprint, to accommodate the washing of large Pakistani robes. While in China, they feature a large hose used to wash vegetables, which is highly useful on many farms.

   

When Strategy-Business asked how Haier has maintained its position, year-after-year, as one of the premier companies in the world, Zhang attributed this to a saying that the company believes: “Successful companies move with the times.” He also noted that once a company goes big, its employees tend to lose market sensitivity, because they are just going to follow orders, which is part of what he hopes to change at Haier.

   

Annually, under Zhang Ruimin’s leadership, Haier has consistently earned itself a place on the lists of the best-performing companies in the world. He introduced new systems such as the “All-Around Optimized Management Approach” (OEC), the “Market Chain” management system, and the “Integration of Individuals and Goals,” which helped to catapult Haier into one of the world’s top companies.

   

In the age of the Internet, the CEO has also wondered how Haier can obtain valuable customer insights. They used to make calls and ask customers to answer questionnaires. But the changing times meant that this method must be refreshed. In the same interview with Strategy-Business, Ruimin says that they once invited users to select which — among the modules and designs that Haier had created — were most favorable to users. The strategy worked, and they managed to sell more than ten-thousand television sets online in just twenty-four hours.

   

Future Plans:

   

According to Asia Times, the Haier Group is planning to go public on the China Europe International Exchange’s D-share market. In line with this plan, the company is selling up to 400 million D-shares (D is for “Deutschland”). The China Europe International Exchange is composed of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Deutsche Boerse Group, and the China Financial Futures Exchange. The primary objective is to promote Haier globally, and hopefully to attract more investors.

   

Milestones and Achievements:

   

Zhang Ruimin was the first Chinese entrepreneur to give a speech at Harvard, per Thinkers 50. Aside from that honor, he has also been recognized as the “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Asia Weekly (1997), one of Financial Times’s “Global 30 Most Respected Entrepreneurs” (1999), “Businessman of the Year in China” by CCTV (2002), Business Week’s “China’s Most Powerful People” (2009) and Fortune Magazine’s “Asia’s 25 Most Influential Business Figures” (2004), among others.

   

Moreover, he has also been a recipient of many different international awards, including the “Inspired Leadership Award,” the “IMD Management Thought Leader,” the “Asia Brand Eternal Spiritual Leadership Award,” and the “Dale Carnegie Leadership Award.”

   

Zhang Ruimin is a leader who does not let setbacks get in the way of reaching success. As proven by his successful track record of taking over a struggling company, he demonstrates that there are never valid reasons for not striving harder. His thoughts are always forward-looking. That is why Haier has strongly cemented its place in the global Appliances Industry.

   
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Born-2-Invest Magazine

CEO Spotlight: Haier Group’s Zhang Ruimin

Zhang Ruimin transformed Haier from a bankrupt company into a global leader in producing high-quality home appliances.
 

Published on April 15, 2018
By Andrew Ross

The Haier Group is one of the world’s leading appliance makers. The man credited behind its success is no other than CEO Zhang Ruimin. Read on to learn how he transformed the once-bankrupt company into the global force it is today.
 

Brief Background:

Zhang Ruimin was born on January 5, 1949, in Laizhou, Shandong. According to the book “The Haier Way,” by Jeannie Jinsheng Yi, Zhang failed to get a college degree because of the Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1969. But that did not stop him from acquiring powerful knowledge. He worked at a construction factory in Qingdao and quickly learned, by sheer determination, the ins and outs of the system. He was soon promoted to Deputy Director, after just twelve years working at the factory.
 

He was then appointed as the General Manager of the Qingdao Refrigerator Plant, which was embroiled in debt worth ¥1.47 million. He realized that their products’ poor quality was a big factor in explaining why their products failed to make sales and impressions. In a bid to turn things around, he invited factory workers to destroy substandard refrigerators that the company had made, which left a huge impression on the workforce. Soon enough, the emphasis was refocused toward making high-quality products. In 1986, Qingdao Refrigerator realized eighty-three percent sales growth that year, per Funding Universe.  

In 1991, Qingdao Refrigerator was renamed Qingdao Haier Group, and later on dropped “Qingdao” in the company name. Zhang subsequently enrolled at the University of Science and Technology of China, and he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration there.  

Career at Haier Group:

Haier has grown to being more than just an appliance maker. It now provides services, such as offering water safety tips, and it leads other initiatives focused on how to improve the quality of life in both China, and in other developing nations.
 

Haier has also customized its products according to the needs of a particular region or country. In Pakistan, Haier washing machines are larger than the traditional footprint, to accommodate the washing of large Pakistani robes. While in China, they feature a large hose used to wash vegetables, which is highly useful on many farms.  

When Strategy-Business asked how Haier has maintained its position, year-after-year, as one of the premier companies in the world, Zhang attributed this to a saying that the company believes: “Successful companies move with the times.” He also noted that once a company goes big, its employees tend to lose market sensitivity, because they are just going to follow orders, which is part of what he hopes to change at Haier.  

Annually, under Zhang Ruimin’s leadership, Haier has consistently earned itself a place on the lists of the best-performing companies in the world. He introduced new systems such as the “All-Around Optimized Management Approach” (OEC), the “Market Chain” management system, and the “Integration of Individuals and Goals,” which helped to catapult Haier into one of the world’s top companies.  

In the age of the Internet, the CEO has also wondered how Haier can obtain valuable customer insights. They used to make calls and ask customers to answer questionnaires. But the changing times meant that this method must be refreshed. In the same interview with Strategy-Business, Ruimin says that they once invited users to select which — among the modules and designs that Haier had created — were most favorable to users. The strategy worked, and they managed to sell more than ten-thousand television sets online in just twenty-four hours.  

Future Plans:

According to Asia Times, the Haier Group is planning to go public on the China Europe International Exchange’s D-share market. In line with this plan, the company is selling up to 400 million D-shares (D is for “Deutschland”). The China Europe International Exchange is composed of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Deutsche Boerse Group, and the China Financial Futures Exchange. The primary objective is to promote Haier globally, and hopefully to attract more investors.
 

Milestones and Achievements:

Zhang Ruimin was the first Chinese entrepreneur to give a speech at Harvard, per Thinkers 50. Aside from that honor, he has also been recognized as the “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Asia Weekly (1997), one of Financial Times’s “Global 30 Most Respected Entrepreneurs” (1999), “Businessman of the Year in China” by CCTV (2002), Business Week’s “China’s Most Powerful People” (2009) and Fortune Magazine’s “Asia’s 25 Most Influential Business Figures” (2004), among others.
 

Moreover, he has also been a recipient of many different international awards, including the “Inspired Leadership Award,” the “IMD Management Thought Leader,” the “Asia Brand Eternal Spiritual Leadership Award,” and the “Dale Carnegie Leadership Award.”  

Zhang Ruimin is a leader who does not let setbacks get in the way of reaching success. As proven by his successful track record of taking over a struggling company, he demonstrates that there are never valid reasons for not striving harder. His thoughts are always forward-looking. That is why Haier has strongly cemented its place in the global Appliances Industry.