TENCracking the American Retail MarketWho Is Haier?

First we observe and digest. Then we imitate. In the end, we understand it well enough to design it independently.

—Zhang Ruimin, CEO of the Haier Group

IT WAS NOT EXACTLY a boardroom panic, but there was no question that the top management of Whirlpool, one of America’s leading household appliance manufacturers, was beginning to see a looming threat on the horizon. Whirlpool’s senior executives had just learned that the company’s troubled rival, Maytag, was up for sale and that it might well become the property of a Chinese competitor, Haier. If the sale went through, Haier would be able to market its products under a well-known American brand name, and that promised to turn Haier into an even ...

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