Haier, a Chinese multinational specialising in consumer electronics and home appliances and the world’s leading white goods company, was named as one of the most innovative companies in 2014 by Fast Company. LSE’s academic Dr Christian Busch has been working with Haier and its CEO Mr Zhang Ruimin over the past 9 months to understand and develop the company’s approach to business model innovation. Some of his findings have now been published in “Connecting Capabilities”, a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit about digital transformation in Asia.
According to Dr Busch, Haier believes that a company which is not 100% user-focused will eventually not survive. This is why the company has invested in creating a culture that fosters innovation through a platform model with micro-entrepreneurs at the core – a unique approach. Haier is also increasingly turning to digitisation with connected appliances, “using artificial intelligence to order food automatically once it expires, and leveraging the Internet of Things to coordinate household devices”.