In 1984, Haier was a small, collective factory with a budget deficit of 1.47 million yuan, and then came Zhang Ruimin.
In 2017, Haier Group's revenue reached 241.9 billion yuan. Its pre-tax profits exceeded 30 billion yuan, with global operating profits increasing by 41 percent.
Over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, Zhang Ruimin and Haier's past and future reflect the development and destiny of contemporary Chinese entrepreneurs. There is a simple but difficult truth to be learned: self-denial is crucial as success requires humility not conceitedness.
Zhang is one of the many Chinese entrepreneurs who gained global attention after China's reform and opening-up. He is highly reputed in the world not only because he legendarily transformed a small factory facing bankruptcy into a global company with an annual turnover of over 100 billion yuan, but also because he exported innovative business models and classical management cases abroad. Moreover, he created the competitive Haier culture that embraces Chinese characteristics.
Zhang once said, "Without reform and opening-up, there would be no Haier."
Indeed, every stage of reform and opening-up provided opportunities for Haier to develop. But more importantly, Zhang incorporated the spirit of continuous change and innovation that characterized the reform and opening-up policy into Haier's DNA..
The 40 years of reform and opening-up have created precious opportunities for Zhang and many other Chinese entrepreneurs. The next 40 years will be a greater challenge.
Zhang has one ultimate goal for Haier. "One day, whenever you go anywhere in the world, people would say: 'I know Haier. It is a famous brand.' That's enough."
Zhang is grateful for the past, but yesterday is over and tomorrow will still bring unknown challenges.