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China's refrigerator magnate

Zhang Ruimin, CEO of the Haier Group--the Chinese company that is the world's fifth-biggest maker of white goods--describes his plan to create a global brand.

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Few Chinese manufacturing companies are known outside their home markets, because most would rather supply goods to established Western brands than compete under their own brand names in Europe and North America. But Haier Group, which makes refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and nearly 80 other products, wants to sell its appliances—and its brand—to the rest of the world. In this interview, Haier's chairman and CEO, Zhang Ruimin, talks about the challenges of going abroad and explains how dorm-room refrigerators are merely a foot in the door.

The take-away

Building a global brand is more difficult than supplying white boxes to established players. But Zhang believes that this is the right strategy for achieving higher margins.

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