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Haier innovation teams changing sector

Reporter: Ming Tian 丨 CCTV.com

05-20-2016 16:14 BJT

The Haier manufacturing company is transforming its structure from that of home appliance maker into one that consists of a number of innovation teams. And those in-house start-ups are changing the traditional manufacturing landscape.

Talking about innovation? How about changing yourself first? That's what is happening in China's leading brick-and-mortar manufacturer these days.

Haier rose to manufacturing fame on the strength of its washing machines and televisions back in the 1990s.

Now, it has reorganized its corporate structure to adapt to the world's new customer-driven market. What used to be subsidiary divisions are now at the front lines of design, marketing, and sales.

"These small businesses are little cells of the whole system, small but vital to the company," said Zhang Yi, Haier Home Appliances.

Haier offers technology and logistics support to its smaller units and encourages them to bring out new products, such as portable theater systems and smart freezers.

The smart freezers can teach you how to cook, after receiving voice orders.

They also can play music, monitor the freshness of food, and connect with e-commerce vendors to place orders.

Workers in their 30s and even 20 make up the majority of the teams, and they take bold risks. The portable theater project faced huge difficulties during its start-up phase because investors had agreed to provide funding only after initial sales topped three thousand units.

"I wrote an IOU to the investor in my own name. And should I finish the sales target, then I would pay back the borrowing. It was a bet," said Ma Wenjun, theater project leader.

The young enterpreneurs think they can contribute even more.

"As we move into the age of knowledge economy, those who create knowledge are contributing more. Both my team and I think that we are overturning the traditional industry and it is fun," said Liao Xin, smart kitchen leader.

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