Why Zhang Ruimin could be shortlisted 3 times in a row of Thinkers50 Ranking


“Who says elephants can’t dance? If it can, the ants must leave the dance floor.”
Twenty-six years ago, the newly elected CEO of IBM, Louis Gerstner used this statement to describe the plight of large companies, which means that large companies could maintain a long-term competitive advantage if they master the flexibility to manage.

Thinkers50 is the first-ever global ranking of management thinkers, and attracts the prominent management thinkers around the world. Zhang Ruimin, Chairman of Board of Directors and CEO of Haier Group, was successfully shortlisted for the list for three consecutive times.

The Acquaintance to the Thinkers50 Global
Stuart Crainer once asked his good friend Bill Fischer: what is the most interesting company in business management around the world? Bill Fisher replied to him: Haier.

In 2015, Stuart Crainer, who visited Haier for the first time, was amazed by Haier’s entrepreneurship. Soon after, Zhang Ruimin made the 2015 Thinkers50 list. In the following years, 2017 and 2019, Zhang Ruimin became a “regular customer” of Thinkers50. “Haier gives employees a lot of freedom to inspire their entrepreneurship,” says Stuart Crainer. These flexible management innovations may be an effective way to make elephants dance.

Leading the era for the Internet of Things with Chinese Approaches

Nobel Economics Prize laureate Bengt Holmström publicly said that the Rendanheyi Model coined by Zhang Ruimin was a very disruptive and revolutionary model.

For Haier, through using the scenario to take the place of products for ecosystem transformation, the unique competitiveness has been shaped. For example, at Haier Smart Home 001 Experience Center, which opened in September this year, household appliances are no longer sold by “set” but by “scenario”; users no longer just buy a single refrigerator or air conditioner, but the whole family food and air solution.

On the other hand, through ecosystem enabling, Haier has also transformed more industries. In the Internet of Clothing ecosystem, relying on the Internet of Things technology, the clothing enterprise receiving and delivery efficiency has increased by 10 times, and the labor cost has reduced by 50%, which proves the strong vitality of the ecosystem brand in the world.

The Internet of Things has brought great uncertainties to the business world, and more and more companies around the world have been aware of this and showed interest to learn from Haier’s successful experience and practice. Zhang Ruimin and his management thoughts are deeply exerting the profound influence on the world. But for Zhang, Haier’s successful practice is just the first step, and how to use the Rendanheyi Model to support more enterprises to create ecosystem brands is the new requirement.