Haier 1997 photo
Reinventing Giants
is several books in one. It is, first and foremost, a book about why and how reinvention occurs, and how it takes place in a large, "old economy" market leader, rather than another Silcon Valley success story. These are real people, making real home appliances! We beleive

I first became aware of Haier and it's first "reinvention" in 1984, while working in Dalian. The audacity of Haier's workers to smash defective refrigerators spread wildly among Chinese consumers. Home refrigerators were so unusual in those days, that even damaged ones, which could be fixed, were in high-demand. I well remember people standing outside of the Number 1 Department Store in Shanghai, holding cash in their hands, trying to buy damaged refrigerators before they were off-loaded from the delivery truck, knowing that if the machines went into the store (and the administrative system it served) they would have no hope of ever getting one.

In the late 1990s, I had a chance to visit Qingdao and speak at a seminar of Haier leaders. Even then, it was clear that Zhang Ruimin and his colleagues were an exceptionally ambitious management team.