Bill Fischer
Bill Fischer

When China´s leading white goods producer Haier bought the appliances department of GE it caught the headlines. But the acquisition might not be as important as the underlying strategy to enter American homes, says IMD professor Bill Fischer, co-author of the book Reinventing Giants: How Chinese Global Competitor Haier Has Changed the Way Big Companies Transform to Bloomberg.


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….

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 in Bloomberg.

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