Zhang Ruimin
Haier Group

Wharton Speaker >> Biography

Zhang Ruimin is a world-renowned entrepreneur and the founder of Haier Group. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Haier Group.
Since becoming the Director of Haier’s Qingdao Refrigerator Factory (predecessor of Haier) in 1984, Mr. Zhang has built the company into the world’s leading home appliance provider. In 2013, Haier Group recorded global revenues of US$29.5 billion and profit of US$1.76 billion, and was named by the Boston Consulting Group as one of the ten most innovative companies in the world. Euromonitor has named Haier the world’s leading home appliance brand for five consecutive years since 2008.
At Haier, Mr. Zhang has built a corporate culture that emphasizes innovation as the primary driver of success. This reflects Mr. Zhang’s conviction that successful enterprises must move with the times.
In his 29 years at the helm of Haier, he has consistently focused on grasping opportunities to innovate and adapt to changing market circumstances. In the 1980s, Mr. Zhang encouraged Haier to take advantage of the “reform and opening up” policy to build a new branding strategy and focus on providing high quality products. In the 1990s, Haier seized the opportunity presented by market restructuring to diversify its product and brand portfolio. Moving into the twenty-first century, Mr. Zhang and Haier embraced international expansion, pushing into new markets and localizing R&D and production efforts to get close to consumers in those markets.
Haier’s Networking Strategy, launched in 2012, aims to position the company for continued success in the Internet era, by breaking down boundaries between suppliers, producers and consumers to create a truly networked business ecosystem that can respond rapidly to the fast-changing, increasingly diverse needs of Haier’s users.
Mr. Zhang’s management theories have received global recognition and have been studied by management experts around the world. Prestigious business schools including Harvard, Wharton and IESE have included Haier’s story in their course materials, highlighting Haier’s disruptive management model as an example of how companies can adapt to the changing dyanmics of the internet era. In December 2012. Mr. Zhang was invited to deliver addresses at the IESE Business School in Spain and the IMD Business School in Switzerland. In August 2013, he was invited to deliver a keynote address at the 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Management (AOM).
Awards and Recognitions:
1999       Recognized as one of the Global 30 Most Respected Entrepreneurs by the Financial Times
2002       Named as a Global Business Leader by United Way International
2004       Ranked 6th among Asia’s 25 most influential business figures by Fortune
2005       Named 26th among the world’s 50 most respected business leaders by the Financial Times
2009       Recognized as one of “China’s Top 40 Influential Figures of 2009” by Business Week
2010       Recognized as one of “China’s Most Influential Business Leaders” by Fortune Chinese Edition
2011       Recognized as one of “China’s Most Influential Business Leaders” by Fortune Chinese Edition
2012       Recognized as one of “China’s 50 Most Influential Business Leaders” by Fortune Chinese Edition
2012       Won the Yuan Baohua Enterprise Management Gold Award (Mr. Zhang is the first businessman in the appliance industry to be given the award)
2012       Received Carnegie Award for Outstanding Leader
2012       Received IMD Management Thought Leadership Award by IMD Business School
2013       Received “Asia Brand Thought Leaders Award” from the Asia Brand Association
2014       Recognized as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune Magazine

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