The world's largest Appliance maker wants to transform the meaning of Made in China
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Enshrined in the cavernous showroom of Haier Group’s headquarters is a simple sledgehammer. It might seem to have no reason to be there. The firm, based in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, makes and sells household appliances—more of them than any other company in the world—and the tool seems out of place among the nearby refrigerators and washing machines. But the blunt instrument was once wielded by Haier’s long-serving CEO, Zhang Ruimin, 65, to make a point.
Thirty years ago, the city government of Qingdao placed Zhang in charge of a dysfunctional, near bankrupt refrigerator manufacturer. The communist-era dinosaur was a manager’s nightmare.