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2014年3月19日 星期三

中國/海爾不認識松下幸之助;Chinese Refrigerator Maker Haier Finds US Chilly


  中國不認識松下幸之助,所以才會亂比喻


 
張瑞敏:中國的“松下幸之助”?!
對於海爾這家企業,日本究竟了解多少?中國的一家電器廠商;從松下手中收購了三洋電機白色家電業務的廠商;在洗衣機和電冰箱領域連續五年保持世界份額第一的廠商…… (詳見全文)

2008.3 許多年前有位"台商"從大陸歸來給我四本關於這家公司的書......



2006年9月份的一天,張瑞敏一紙令下,把海爾的中高層召集在一起,用了整整一個上午的時間,學習《紐約時報》專欄作家托馬斯‧弗里德曼(Thomas L. Friedman)的《世界是平的》
(The World is Flat)一書 ...。《紐約時報》著名社論作者弗里德曼納悶:『到什麼時候中國才會需要美國?』. ...





青島海爾股份有限公司(簡稱﹕青島海爾)
英文名稱﹕Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd.
總部地點﹕中國大陸
上市地點﹕上海證交所
股票代碼﹕600690海爾電器集團有限公司(簡稱﹕海爾電器)
英文名稱﹕Haier Electronics Group Co. Ltd.
總部地點﹕香港
上市地點﹕香港交易所
股票代碼﹕1169

中國冰箱在美遭冷遇

2008年03月19日08:55

西方公司垂涎三尺地瞄上中國巨大的消費人群時,中國最大的電器制造商海爾集團(Haier Group)的掌門人張瑞敏卻盯上了美國。他的計劃是:在美國生產一款售價2,000美元的標志性冰箱,以在利潤豐厚的美國市場上搶佔更大份額。

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張瑞敏的戰略拉近了海爾集團與其潛在客戶之間的距離,並省下了從中國裝運大件電器的成本。但自去年推出以後,這款新的高級冰箱卻遭受了冷遇。

ABC Applicances的資深採購員湯姆﹒托傑森(Tom Torgerson)表示,在海爾新產品發布後的頭幾個月,他名下的40多間中西部店舖只賣出約50台海爾調溫冰箱。他說:“海爾的品牌知名度較低。”

作為中國最大的消費品牌之一,海爾每年生產的冰箱數量是惠而浦公司(Whirlpool Corp.)的兩倍多。雖然海爾在小型冰箱銷售商中位居前列,但在總值達400億美元的美國市場,海爾還只是個小角色,多年來其在美銷售的大多為低價家電。

日益加劇的外國競爭使得海爾的冰箱和洗衣機等中國核心產品的利潤空間變得極其微薄,因此,海外增長對海爾來說至關重要。自2004年海爾在對Maytag Corp.的收購戰中敗給惠而普後,上述壓力就變得更大了。

但海爾在美國的雄心壯志卻遭遇重重障礙。這款可以讓消費者為每個格間設定溫度的新冰箱在其位於南卡羅來納州的工廠設計和生產,成本是在中國生產的10倍。

但是海爾最昂貴的美國本土產品上市時卻正趕上美國經濟放緩,消費低迷。

與此同時,海爾由上至下的嚴格管理架構用在習慣於較為寬鬆的管理風格的美國工人身上毫不奏效。

北京的長江商學院(Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business)教授滕斌聖說,海爾正處於從官僚主義的國有企業向富有活力的公司轉變的重要關口。

雖然中國的經濟實力日漸增長,中國政府也以稅收補貼、廉價土地及建議的形式提供強勁支持,但許多中國頂級公司都在國際競爭中掙紮求生。很少有中國公司成為國際知名家用品牌。顧問公司Interbrand 2007年編制的全球百強品牌中沒有一家中國品牌。

許 多中國公司高調出擊國際市場,卻馬失前蹄。2005年,電子產品巨頭TCL集團股份有限公司(TCL Corp.)旗下的一個分公司接手了法國湯姆遜(Thomson SA)的電視業務,獲得了使用RCA品牌的許可,但這一合資企業步履維艱,虧損數千萬美元。聯想集團有限公司(Lenovo Group Ltd.)或許是國際知名度最高的中國品牌,2005年,聯想收購了國際商業機器公司(International Business Machines)的個人電腦業務,然而直到最近才開始在中國以外的市場實現盈利。

對於去年在全世界總收入150億美元的海爾來說,未能 如期將其新款冰箱推向市場意味著它碰上了美國經濟下行的時候。去年中國制造產品的一系列召回事件加劇了人們對中國產品質量的擔憂,也增加了海爾面臨的挑 戰。而家電採購員表示,海爾新款冰箱的設計未能獨樹一幟,與知名度更高的競爭對手的機型區分開來。

投 資者對此憂心忡忡。Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG的資金管理部門、位於澳大利亞的Volksbank Invest Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH的基金經理烏裡奇﹒鮑曼(Ulrich Baumann)說:“這讓人失望。他們說自己有強有力的計劃,但到現在為止,我們還沒看出來。”Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG去年出售了所持海爾集團香港上市子公司海爾電器集團有限公司(Haier Electronics)的所有股份,此前它是後者最大的機構投資者。

海爾總部位於中國東部沿海城市青島,公司自稱是集體所有制,本質上也屬於國有企業。該公司的內部管理很多方面都不透明,其資產中只有約30%在滬港上市。

張瑞敏是中國最知名的企業家,20多年前就開始坐鎮海爾。他推出了一套嚴格紀律的管理體系,嚴格強調質量控制。在國內的海爾工廠,出錯的工人必須在一些專門劃定的區域罰站,並公開地大聲自我批評,解釋為什麼會出錯以及學到了哪些教訓。

管 理人員必須佩戴公司發的藍色絲綢領帶。車間工人則按級別不同戴不同顏色的帽子──灰色的級別較高,黃色較低。在中國這個插隊加塞司空見慣的國家,海爾的員 工培訓中有一條就是要排隊禮讓。至1999年,海爾已成為國內企業巨頭,可能是中國最知名的單一電器品牌。海爾產品以高質量著稱,在應屆大學畢業生擇業調 查中,海爾一直都是最具吸引力的國內企業之一。不過,海爾的利潤率卻在不斷下滑,這促使張瑞敏開始放眼海外。

海爾已在海外新建或收購了30多家工廠,這些工廠分布在從意大利到印度的多個國家,生產面向當地市場的產品。舉例來講,面向中東市場的巴基斯坦工廠生產的洗衣機一次可以洗33件阿拉伯長袍。

張瑞敏以睿智的言談及特立獨行(他曾在一家工廠建了一個飛碟形狀的建築物)而聞名,他堅持海爾要加大海外業務的擴張。他說,先難後易是制勝之道。

十多年前,海爾開始在美國發展業務,主要產品是那些能以低廉價格從中國運到美國的小家電。它的小冰箱銷量在美國居首位。

不過,張瑞敏希望海爾的產品能夠進入Sears Holdings Corp.和Lowe's Cos.等大型連鎖零售店,目前海爾在這些零售店的業務規模仍很小。為此,海爾需要生產高端產品,這主要都是些難以從中國運來的大宗電器。

海爾在小城卡姆登建了一家大型工廠。過去該城有很多紡織廠,但由於來自中國和其他國家的低成本競爭已紛紛倒閉。

不過,海爾多層級的管理文化令美國工人難以適應。他們對出錯就要罰站的做法很抵觸。海爾的中國管理層開始努力適應美國方式。他們取消了出錯罰站,而是在那裡表揚優秀員工。

海 爾的確有些競爭優勢。該公司規模較大,在全球的總產量為每年800萬台,所以能拿到較低的零件價格。卡姆登工廠的經理艾德﹒伍斯沃福(Ed Wuesthoff)估計,公司在鋼鐵和塑料原料上可以獲得3%至5%的批發折扣。據海爾管理人員表示,包括出口在內的海外銷售已升至公司總收入的四分之 一,而5年前還只有約10%。

不過,海爾在美國的工廠仍處於虧損狀態。海外經營的高成本影響了利潤增長。據中國信息產業部未經審計的數據顯示,2006年海爾的總利潤為2,030萬美元,較4年前下降了32%。

海爾美國業務負責人邁克爾﹒賈邁爾(Michael Jemal)承認,美國經濟的低迷使公司業務受挫,但他在一封電子郵件中表示,海爾在美國不同地區的銷量都在逐年上升。他說,公司計劃不久將推出一款更為價廉的調溫冰箱。

ABC Appliances的托傑森看好海爾的質量和價格。海爾沒有攪拌器的洗衣機較同類型的惠而浦洗衣機便宜40%,這種洗衣機容量更大、洗滌更輕柔。不過托傑森說,隨著美國房市低迷,海爾的“日子也不好過”。

張瑞敏並沒有被嚇退,他表示,希望到2010年再增加10家海外工廠。他說,不能參與全球競爭的公司是無法生存下來的。

Mei Fong

Chinese Refrigerator Maker Finds US Chilly

| | |
2008年03月19日08:55
While Western companies cast a covetous eye at China's huge consumer population, Zhang Ruimin, the chief executive of one of China's largest appliance makers, was ogling the U.S. His plan: Build a signature, $2,000 refrigerator in America to capture a bigger slice of the lucrative U.S. market.

Mr. Zhang's strategy brought Haier Group closer to its potential customers and avoided the cost of shipping bulky appliances from China. But since it was introduced last year, the new high-end refrigerator has been given a cool reception.

Tom Torgerson, senior buyer at ABC Appliances, says his chain of more than 40 Midwestern stores sold only about 50 of the Haier convertible fridges in the first few months of the product's launch last year. 'Haier's name recognition is small,' he says.

One of China's biggest consumer brands, Haier makes more than twice the number of refrigerators in a year made by Whirlpool Corp. Even though it is the leading seller of compact fridges used in dorm rooms, it is still a mere pipsqueak in the $40 billion U.S. market, where it has been selling mostly lower-cost appliances for years.

Growth overseas is crucial for Haier because profit margins from the company's core products in China -- refrigerators and washing machines -- are razor-thin thanks to increasing foreign competition. That pressure has increased since 2004, when Haier made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Maytag Corp., losing out to Whirlpool.

But Haier's U.S. ambitions have run up against hurdles. The new refrigerator, which allows consumers to set specific temperatures for individual compartments, was designed and built at Haier's South Carolina factory, at 10 times what it would cost the company to make in China.

The downturn in the U.S. economy crimped consumer demand just as the company's most-expensive U.S.-made products came on the market.

At the same time, Haier's rigid, top-down management structure fell flat with American workers accustomed to a less-authoritarian style.

'Haier is at a crossroads' as it attempts to build a dynamic company out of a bureaucratic, formerly state-owned enterprise, said Teng Bingsheng, a professor at the Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

Despite the country's growing economic power, and strong endorsements by China's government in the form of tax subsidies, cheap land and advice, many of China's leading companies have struggled on the international stage. Few Chinese companies are global household names. None were on a list of the top 100 global brands compiled in 2007 by Interbrand, a consulting firm.

A number of Chinese companies have stumbled after making high-profile forays into the international marketplace. A unit of electronics giant TCL Corp. took over the television operations of France's Thomson SA in 2005, acquiring a license to use the RCA brand. But the venture struggled, losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Lenovo Group Ltd., perhaps the most internationally established Chinese brand, only recently has started making money outside China after buying the personal-computer division of International Business Machines Corp. in 2005.

For Haier, which had $15 billion in revenue world-wide last year, a delay in getting its new refrigerator to market meant that it arrived just as the U.S. economy was turning south. A series of recalls for China-made products last year, which have heightened quality concerns about Chinese manufacturing, compounded the company's challenges. And the new fridge's design simply hasn't set it apart from models by better-known competitors, appliance buyers say.

Investors are worried. 'It's disappointing,' says Ulrich Baumann, a fund manager at Austria-based Volksbank Invest Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH, the fund-management arm of Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG, which was the biggest institutional investor in Haier Electronics, a Hong Kong-listed unit of Haier Group, until late last year, when it sold its entire stake. 'They say they have strong plans, but so far, we don't see it,' he says.


Based in the northeastern coastal town of Qingdao, Haier calls itself an employee collective, which is a de facto state-owned enterprise. Much of its inner workings are opaque, with only about 30% of the company's assets listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Mr. Zhang, one of China's best-known businessmen, has led Haier for more than two decades. He developed a management system of strict discipline, with a strong emphasis on quality control. Workers in China who make mistakes must stand on a set of footprints outlined on the floor and publicly criticize themselves out loud, explaining why they erred and the lessons learned.

Managers are required to wear company-issue blue silk ties. Factory workers sport colored caps signaling their seniority, gray for higher ranks, yellow for lower ranks. And in a nation of people famous for line-jumping, Haier's employees are taught to march in straight lines as part of their job-training. By 1999, Haier had become a colossus in China, probably the single best-known appliance brand in the country. It had a reputation for good quality, and surveys of recent college graduates consistently ranked Haier as one of China's most desirable employers. But profit margins were falling, prompting Mr. Zhang to search for growth abroad.

Haier built or acquired more than 30 factories stretching from Italy to India. These plants were set up to produce goods targeted at local tastes -- for instance, its factory in Pakistan targets the Middle East market with a washing machine designed to handle 33 disdashas -- billowy Arab garments -- per load.

Known for sage-like sayings and for idiosyncrasies such as the flying-saucer-shaped tower he had built at one of his plants, Mr. Zhang insisted that Haier press on with its global expansion. 'First the hard, then smooth. That's the way to win,' he says.

Haier started business in the U.S. more than a decade ago, targeting small products that can be cheaply shipped from China. Haier, for example, is the top seller of compact refrigerators in the U.S.

But Mr. Zhang wanted to get Haier products into major retailers such as Sears Holdings Corp. and Lowe's Cos., where the Haier brand still has no major presence. To do that, Haier needed to produce higher-end products -- typically larger-size appliances that couldn't be as easily brought in from China.

Haier built a large plant in tiny Camden, a town once full of textile mills that had been shuttered because of low-cost competition from China and elsewhere.

But Haier's hierarchical culture has been a tough fit with U.S. workers. They rebelled against being forced to stand in the footprints when they made mistakes. Haier's Chinese management has tried to adjust to American tastes. Instead of humiliating bad workers, they now encourage the best ones to stand in the footprints for recognition.

Haier does have some competitive advantages. With its large scale, making eight million units a year world-wide, it can negotiate cheaper prices for parts. Ed Wuesthoff, the Camden plant manager, estimates the company gets volume discounts of 3% to 5% on steel and plastic orders. According to company executives, overseas sales, including exports, have risen to one-fourth of total revenue, compared with about 10% five years ago.

But Haier's U.S. factory is still running at a loss. Having higher-cost overseas operations to manage has weighed on profit growth. According to unaudited figures from China's Ministry of Information, Haier's 2006 gross profit was $20.3 million, a 32% drop compared with four years ago.

Haier's head of its U.S. division, Michael Jemal, acknowledged that the economic downturn has hurt business, but said in an email that U.S. sales have increased year-to-year in all areas. Mr. Jemal also said the company soon plans to launch a cheaper model of the convertible fridge.

Mr. Torgerson, ABC Appliances' chief buyer, likes Haier's quality and pricing. Haier's washing machine without an agitator -- which makes for larger loads and gentler washing -- is 40% cheaper than a similar Whirlpool model. But with the slump in the U.S. housing market, Haier's 'timing is tough,' says Mr. Torgerson.

Undeterred, Mr. Zhang says he wants to add 10 more overseas plants by 2010. Those who don't become global players 'won't survive,' he says.


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