In the late 1990s, Haier Group entered “Internationalization Strategy Stage”, in an effort to tap into overseas markets.
Unlike some Chinese enterprises pursuing short-term gains as international manufacturing factories in overseas markets, Haier, since the beginning of its international expansion, has formulated a “Brand Building” strategy with a commitment to offering the product quality, technical specification and after-sale service of the highest standards to overseas customers under its own brand. Statistics show that the export of Chinese household appliances occupies only 2.46% of the total overseas market share, 82% of which comes from Haier.
Branding relies on successful market development strategy. While formulating differentiation tactics, Haier came up with the “three-step strategy” of “going out, going in and going up”. That is, first gain ground in the traditional major household appliance markets like Europe, USA and Japan by making into the niche markets, then with the advantageous positions obtained in these major markets, rapidly expand the market presence in the developing countries. Next, take to the main channels of local markets with localized products that meet mainstream local user needs, and ultimately become the market leader of high-end and innovative products. Currently, Haier has entered the top ten chain channels in Europe and USA with its markets across over 100 countries and regions. Every minute on average 125 overseas consumers are becoming Haier customers.
Upon entering the “Global Brand Strategy” stage, Haier accelerated the development of overseas markets into the fast lane. During this stage, Haier has gradually built up its marketing network, R&D and manufacture bases in overseas markets totally relying on the power of its own brand. Moreover, Haier has achieved quick expansion and consolidation of overseas resources through differentiated international acquisitions. In October 2011, Haier announced the acquisition of Sanyo's white goods business in Japan and Southeast Asia. This multinational acquisition is a milestone event for Haier. It not only intensified Haier's presence in Southeast Asia, but more importantly, via differentiated cultural integration and mechanism innovation, instilled Haier's doctrine of “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” to the acquired companies and employees, allowing the integration and development of Haier and Aqua brands in Japanese and Southeast Asian markets. Because the acquisition involved wide coverage, extensive content and complex process, it was chosen as one of 2011 Five Outstanding Overseas Acquisitions by “China Business Law Journal”. Just one year later, Haier acquired Fisher&Paykel, a New Zealand household appliance leader, and strengthened its competency in R&D and manufacture of high-end household appliances. On June 7th, 2016, – Qingdao Haier, Inc. (SH600690, “Qingdao Haier”), of which Haier Group (“Haier”) holds a 41% stake, along with General Electric (NYSE: GE), announced that they had signed the necessary delivery documents to fulfill Qingdao Haier’s acquisition of GE Appliances, making GE Appliances a formal member of Qingdao Haier. Currently, Haier has established 10 R&D bases, 7 industrial parks, 24 manufacturing plants and 24 trading companies and basically created a localization mode of “three in one” – combining design, manufacture and sales – to provide ongoing support for global brand development.
As global household appliance market advances into the Internet age, customer needs are getting individualized and information fragmented. Faced with such great transformation, Haier has long been building the Internet ecosystem for user interaction in its overseas markets, leveraging Internet tools to aggregate users and fulfill great purchase experience from both online and offline. With its “networking development stragety” as the gudeline, Haier is building the core competence of “Zero Distance to the Customer” in overseas market.