Bill Fischer
Bill Fischer

The purchase of the GE appliances section by Haier is part of a strategy to enter American homes, says IMD professor Bill Fischer, who studied Haier intensively to Bloomberg. How different is Haier from GE?


Besides the purchase, Haier forged a “long-term strategic partnership” with Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE to jointly expand in high-tech manufacturing areas such as healthcare and the industrial Internet. According to Bill Fischer, a professor of management at the Lausanne-based IMD business school, that was Haier’s biggest coup.

“I believe that Haier sees the partnership as potentially more important than the acquisition itself,” said Fischer, who’s written a book about Haier’s transformation.

The tie-up between Haier and GE was discussed “at the senior-most level” of both companies and potential global projects that draw on each other’s expertise have been identified, a Haier spokesman said in an e-mail. A joint working group is being put together to narrow down details, according to the spokesman….

GE’s sale of its appliance unit comes as the manufacturer is itself attempting to positionas a digitally savvy industrial manufacturer, by expanding a business providing data analytics capabilities for its heavy-duty equipment. The company earlier this month announced it would move its headquarters to Boston to bolster those plans.

Haier’s true aim is likely not in emulating the old GE, but to go for a less asset-heavy and nimbler strategy, where the company uses its assets as a “platform” to collaborate with others, much like how app programmers work with the iPhone and iPad, said IMD’s Fischer.

More at Bloomberg.

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