--- Der "Weiße-Ware"-Produzent Haier ist für den Economist ein Paradebeispiel dafür, warum sich Chinas Unternehmen nach wie vor schwer tun mit dem Aufbau globaler Marken: Haier is now the world's fourth-largest white-goods maker behind Whirlpool, Electrolux and Bosch-Siemens and ahead of GE—though that is mostly owing to its big domestic production volumes. ... But size does not automatically mean quality, just as buying name recognition at any price (that Manhattan HQ) does not equal careful brand-building. Haier's drive into markets abroad mirrors a push into new markets at home. In both, diversification is driven by opportunism and desperation, not good strategy. Predicting that profits in 2004 will be flat at 2 billion yuan for a third successive year, despite an expected 20-30% rise in sales, Mr Zhang admits that plunging returns in his core white goods business are driving him abroad. After China joined the World Trade Organisation, he says, “every multinational set up in China. Margins are low here. If we don't go outside, we cannot survive.” Outside China, Haier has so far concentrated on niches—mini-fridges (to which it adds a handy fold-down flap for a laptop) and wine coolers. But to continue to grow globally it will have to compete with the likes of Whirlpool in their main markets. Yet Haier lacks such firm's R&D, their design skills—it employs just ten researchers in America—their distribution or their service networks.


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