40 Elites in 40 Years: The man who brought 'Made in China' to a new level
Updated 15:23, 02-Jan-2019

In 1984, Haier was a small collectively-owned 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 the 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 Ruimin once said, "Without the reform and opening-up, there would be no Haier."

Indeed, every stage of the 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.