Zhang Ruimin, one of world’s top 50 management thinkers, is a world renowned enterpriser, founder of Haier Group, Secretary of the Haier Group Party Committee, and Haier Group Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO. Zhang Ruimin has also been honored by being named an alternative member to the 16th, 17th and 18th Central Committees of the Chinese Communist Party.
In recognition of his management innovation achievements, Zhang Ruimin has received numerous awards in the field of international management including the “Inspired Leadership Award”, “IMD Management Thought Leader”, “Asia Brand Eternal Spiritual Leadership Award”, “Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Award” and was named among Fortune’s “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. In 2014, Zhang Ruimin was awarded “Enterprise Management Contribution” by China’s Fudan University. In 2015, Zhang Ruimin received the “CEO Award” from the American Best Practices Institute (BPI); he was also awarded the prestigious “Ideas into Practice” award by Thinkers50, an honor known as the “Oscars of Management Thinking”. Thinkers50 also named him to the 2015 Thinkers50 ranking of the top 50 global management thinkers. This makes Zhang Ruimin the only Chinese entrepreneur to have earned two Thinkers50 honors. In 2016, Zhang Ruimin was recognized with a “Legend in Leadership Award” from the Yale School of Management – the only Chinese business leader to have been so honored.
In 1984, Zhang Ruimin took on the role of Director of the failing Qingdao Refrigerator Factory – Haier’s predecessor, thus beginning the prologue of Haier’s entrepreneurship story. Over the course of 32 years of development, his innovative entrepreneurial spirit and advanced strategic decision-making in tune with prevalent trends, allowed Haier Group to achieve global revenue of approximately RMB 201.6 billion in 2016 with 6.8% year-on-year growth and a CAGR of 6.1% over the last 10 years; the Group also achieved profits of approximately RMB 20.3 billion with 12.8% year-on-year growth and a CAGR of 30.6% over the same period. According to Euromonitor’s 2016 survey data, Haier once again topped the world’s major appliance brands for the eighth consecutive year. That same year, Haier entered the listing of the World Brand Top 100 for the second time and was ranked No. 1 in the global white goods industry. Haier was also counted amongst the top 3 in Fortune’s “most admired Chinese companies” – taking the top spot in the electronics category.
In terms of 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 and exploration have provided the global management thinkers with business models and cases fitting current scenarios and forged a highly competitive Haier corporate culture. From OEC management that “accomplishes what's planned each day and improves upon what was accomplished the previous day”, to “Market Chain” management with everyone facing the market, to the RenDanHeYi win-win model in the Internet age, Zhang Ruimin has earned the appreciation of managers worldwide for his relentless innovation. Case studies detailing the “Haier Culture Activating Stunned Fish” have even made their way into the Harvard University case library and Zhang Ruimin was the first Chinese entrepreneur to speak at Harvard. In 2015, the case study “Haier: Zero Distance to the Customer” also became the most popular case study amongst Harvard educators and students.
Zhang Ruimin believes that successful enterprises change with the times. So-called “successful enterprises” only result from keeping pace with prevalent trends. As the organizational architect, he led Haier through five strategic transformations. In 2012, Haier Group entered into its fifth Strategic Phase – Networking. Zhang Ruimin's management thinking once again broke the shackles of traditional management theory and evolved the “RenDanHeYi win-win model” into “RenDanHeYi 2.0 – ecosystems for co-creation and winning together”, in which, the definitions of “Ren” and “Dan” have changed from “employees” to “stakeholders” and from “user value” to “user resources” respectively, and “win-win” has been upgraded to “all-win”. The ultimate goal is to add value for all stakeholders in the ecosystem. Therefore in the Internet age, Haier has transformed from an enterprise that manufactures household appliances to a platform that incubates entrepreneurs across society. Haier aims to become a networked enterprise which disrupts its self-contained and closed ecosystem and fits into the Internet as a node that can connect to a myriad of resources, with a view to building a new platform for co-creation. Haier has become a networked enterprise focusing on socialnomics and the interaction of user values, an IoT leader with trust as its core competence.
Haier's “RenDanHeYi win-win model” was awarded the “State-Level Enterprise Management Modernization Innovation Award”, which is regarded the highest recognition of enterprise management innovation in China. Haier's innovation of management models has also been recognized by western managers and business leaders as forward thinking. In 2012, Zhang Ruimin was invited to give a speech at Spain’s IESE Business School and Switzerland’s IMD Business School; in 2013, Zhang was also invited as the only Chinese entrepreneur to deliver a keynote speech at the 73rd annual meeting of AOM; in 2015, Zhang was invited, again the only Chinese entrepreneur, to deliver a speech at the 7th Global Drucker Forum; all his speeches have been well-received with attracted great enthusiasm. In 2016, Zhang Ruimin was recognized with a Legend in Leadership Award from the Yale School of Management – the only Chinese business leader to have been so honored. In the early year of 2017, Zhang is invited to Stanford University to give a speech in the MBA class. He ranks in the World's 50 Greatest Leaders, the world-wide influential award of Fortune magazine.
2017 “the World's Greatest Leaders”, Fortune
2016 “Legend in Leadership Award”, Yale School of Management – the only Chinese business leader to have been so honored
2015 “Ideas into Practice” and “Top 50 Global Management Thinkers”, Thinkers50
2015 “CEO Award”, American Best Practices Institute (BPI)
2014 “Enterprise Management Contribution”, China’s Fudan University
2014 “Most Innovative Entrepreneur”, Phoenix Finance Summit
2014 “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”, Fortune
2013 Only Chinese entrepreneur to deliver a keynote speech at the 73rd annual meeting of AOM
2013 “Asia Brand Eternal Spiritual Leadership Award”,
2013 “2012 Chinese Innovator of the Year“, China Committee for Strategic Promotion of Constructing an Innovation-Orientated Country
2012 “Dale Carnegie Global Leadership Award”
2012 “IMD Management Thought Leader”
2011 “Inspired Leadership Award“, The Performance Theater
2010 “Most Influential Business Leader in China”, Fortune (China)
2009 “Project Hope 20 Year Special Contributor”, Communist Youth League Central Committee
2009 “40 Most Influential People in China”, BusinessWeek
2009 “Top Business Icons of the Decade”, China Central Television
2005 “Most Respected Business Leaders”, Financial Times
2004 “25 Most Influential Business Leaders in Asia”, Fortune
2002 “Outstanding Global Entrepreneur”, United Way International
2001 “Excellent Communist Party Member”, Chinese Communist Party Central Committee
1999 “Top 30 Global Most Respected Entrepreneurs”, Financial Times
1998 First Chinese entrepreneur to speak at Harvard