Smashed Fridges and Catfish: The Story of Haier

In 1984 Zhang Ruimin went into a failing factory making fridges and smashed them all with a sledgehammer. “Work started at 8.00am”, Mr Zhang tells Peter Day, “but if you went in there at 9.00am and threw a grenade nobody would die because they had all gone home”. This factory has now become Haier, one of the largest white goods manufacturers in the world. Zhang Ruimin tells Peter Day how he transformed the company and how he developed his own style of management. Managers at Haier, for example, have their own ‘catfish’ who always shadows them in order to stir things up when they are not performing at their best.

(Picture: Zhang Ruimin, Credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Release date:

Available now

29 minutes

Last on

Wed 13 Nov 2013 15:32 GMT

Contributors to this programme:

Zhang Ruimin

Chairman and Chief Executive of Haier Group.


Lei Yongfeng

Director, Haier Air Conditioner General Corporation Ltd.


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