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Zhang Ruimin

Haier Purpose by Hu Yong and Hao Yazhou

#38 2015
Ideas-Practice Award 2015

Zhang Ruimin is Chairman and CEO of Haier Group.

In 1984, Zhang Ruimin became Director of the Qingdao Refrigerator Factory, the predecessor of Haier. Over more than 30 years, he has turned a small collectively-owned factory with a 1.47m Yuan loss into a global enterprise with global turnover of 188.7b Yuan (2015). Haier now tops the Global Major Appliance Brand rankings with the highest retail volume – and has done so for seven consecutive years. Haier is also included in the World Brand Top 100 and was ranked number one in the global white goods industry. Among many firsts, Zhang Ruimin was the first Chinese entrepreneur to give a speech at Harvard.

In management practice, Zhang integrates the essence of China’s traditional culture with modern Western management concepts, insisting on “taking in everything, growing innovatively and having one’s own style”. His innovative management philosophies range from OEC management — “accomplish what’s planned each day and improve on what’s accomplished the previous day” — to “Market Chain” management with everyone facing the market, and the win-win model of Rendanheyi in the Internet age.

Zhang Ruimin believes that successful enterprises move with the times. Haier has undergone five strategic transformations. In 2012, Haier Group entered into the fifth Strategy Phase – the Networking Strategy Phase. In the Internet age, Haier has transformed itself from an enterprise that manufactures household appliances to a platform that incubates entrepreneurs. Haier’s “win-win model of Rendanheyi” has been widely examined and celebrated as a major management innovation.

Zhang Ruimin Articles on the Thinkers50 Blog

  • Everyone is a maker – turning employees into makers
    The Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin was deeply influenced by Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and Makers: The New […]
  • Drucker in China
    In the 1980s the name of the great management thinker, Peter Drucker, was unknown in China. However, a 30-year-old director […]
  • Discovering the World
    In 1984, the Chinese company Haier signed a refrigerator manufacturing technology contract with the German company Liebherr.  Later in that […]
  • A Letter to Makers
    Although technical development is the key factor in increasing the prosperity of the human race, it is the development of […]
  • Haier’s 1,000 Day Revolution
    In the late 1990s, along with Huawei and Lenovo, after 20 years of development, the Chinese company Haier had developed […]