Zhang Ruimin, the world renowned enterpriser, founder of Haier Group, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Haier Group, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO. Zhang Ruimin is the alternative member of the 16th, 17th and 18th Central Committees of the Communist Party of China. Zhang is also the first Chinese entrepreneur who has been awarded the “Ideas into Practice" and "the world most Influential Management thinker 2015" ，Thinkers50（2015） BPI, “Best Practices Award” (2015).
In 1984, Zhang Ruimin took the post as Director of Qingdao Refrigerator Factory – predecessor of Haier, thus starting the prologue of Haier’s entrepreneurship. Through 28 years of development, with his innovative entrepreneurial spirit and advanced strategic decision-making in conformity with the trend of the times, he has turned a small collectively-owned factory with a 1.47m Yuan loss into a global enterprise with global turnover of 163.1b Yuan (2012). According to statistics from Euromonitor, Haier has been honored as the world’s largest Major Appliances brand for four consecutive years. During the BCG’s Report, Haier is in the eighth position of the Most Innovative Companies 2012 and Haier is the only Chinese company which enters the top ten rankings.
Zhang Ruimin believes that successful enterprises move with the times. The so-called successful enterprises only result from keeping pace with the times. During the 28 years since Haier was established, Zhang Ruimin has always kept user-centered to push forward the company to develop continuously and soundly. At each different stage of development, Haier has grasped the opportunity of the times for strategic innovation. In the 80’s of the last century, Haier took advantage of the opportunity of reform and opening, carried out its brand strategy and created its refrigerator brand name by arousing the employees’ quality consciousness through “smashing refrigerators”. In the nineties, Haier grasped the opportunity of merging and restructuring to implement its diversification strategy. Through OEC management mode and output of corporate culture, it created a classic case of “Haier culture activating stunning fish”, so that a famous refrigerator brand was extended to brand groups in the field of home appliances. In the 21st century, Haier grasped the opportunity for global market integration to implement its international strategy. Instead of relying just on exports based on low production cost, it established overseas factories integrating “localized R&D, localized manufacturing and localized marketing” to continuously create demand in overseas customers, thus establishing Haier’s international brand name. In the Internet era, Haier grasps the opportunity of customized demand and fragmented marketing to implement its strategy of international branding. The global brand for the Internet era is created through transformation of enterprise and business models, namely from selling product to selling service and from the model of traditional development to the Win-win Model of Individual-Goal Combination. Advancing with the Internet development, the world is challenged by the third industrial revolution. Zhang Ruimin keeps changing with the times and initiates Haier’s fifth development stage---Networking Strategy, to connect networking market with the networking organization.
The corporate culture having innovation as the core value established by Zhang Ruimin has played an important role in Haier’s continuous growth through continual innovation. In the management practice, Zhang integrates the essence of China’s traditional culture with western modern management concept, insisting on “taking in everything, growing innovatively and having one’s own style”. From OEC management model stressing “finishing today’s work before its end” to the “market chain” management having everyone facing the market, Zhang’s continuous innovation in the management field has courted attention and good appraisals from the world’s executive. Business schools in developed countries such as Harvard, Spanish IESE business school and others have included Haier’s management cases in their teaching materials, and Haier’s management exploration is becoming a world asset. In the Internet era, Zhang’s management thinking smashes the shackles of conventional western management again, by advocating and creating Haier’s business mode of creating customers in the Internet age – the Win-win Model of Individual-Goal Combination. Haier is now building an equal platform to motivate employees to operate themselves so that each employee becomes his/her own CEO. Zhang’s breakthrough in the field of management theory and practice is highly recognized in the western management theory circle, academic circle and the field of practice. Scholars and practitioners from institutions like Wharton School and American Institute of Management Accountants even participate personally in Haier’s management exploration.
While leading Haier in its continual healthy development, Zhang always attaches great importance to the fulfillment of social responsibilities of the enterprise, takes an active part in public welfare causes including education and charity for contribution to the society, and engages in environment-friendly activities to seek sustainable development. Zhang has won worldwide appreciation through his creation of the global Haier brand and outstanding achievements made in respect to an innovative management model.