Dong Mingzhu: I'm a Fan of Manufacturing

September 18, 2014
Editor: Sophia Zhu
Dong Mingzhu: I'm a Fan of Manufacturing
Dong Mingzhu speaks at the 2014 Davos Summer Forum. [China Women's News]

At the recently concluded 2014 Davos Summer Forum in north China's Tianjin Municipality, President of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. Dong Mingzhu said that she is a fan of manufacturing.

"We have a strong manufacturing arm, which works in concert with our technical (design) and marketing (sales) departments," said Dong.

Dong has become a mentor of the youth at the forum. She is the first woman to take on this role.

In 2013, Gree achieved total revenues of 120 billion yuan (U.S. $19.5 billion), Dong Mingzhu has insisted that over the next five years Gree will increase profits by 20 billion yuan (U.S. $3.2 billion) a year.

In her speech at the forum, Dong said, "Our internal assessments confirm that, in 2014 Gree will still be able to achieve revenue growth of 20 billion yuan (U.S. $3.25 billion), which is to achieve a revenue target of 140 billion yuan(U.S. $22.79 billion)."

In its first 12 years, Gree’s average annual growth in terms of revenues was a steady $1 billion per year from 2003 until 2013, the average annual growth of revenue reached 10 billion yuan starting in 2013.

Dong joined Gree in 1990 as a salesperson, and jumped to sales director within five years. She became the company's president in 2001. Dong has successfully transformed Gree from a sleepy domestic brand into the world's largest manufacturer of air conditioners based on sales, with an operating revenue of over 100 billion yuan (U.S. $16.3 billion) and a net profit of 7.378 billion yuan (U.S. $1.203 billion) in 2012.

However, Dong does not place too much of an emphasis on growth, "Growth is a result, what’s more important is the building of enterprise culture, if we don’t have a good corporate culture, this growth period will be very brief."

Along with other Chinese entrepreneurs, Dong did not get a chance to ask questions to Premier Li Keqiang, who also attended the forum. However, Premier Li spoke on antitrust issues, which left Dong feeling impressed, saying that " Premier Li's answer, which is not just for foreign companies, is that we need to regulate the market."

Ultimately, whether it is Chinese companies or foreign companies, maintaining a good investment environment is the most important aspect for continuing development.

Dong cited the case of closed factories in Vietnam to demonstrate the importance of the investment environment.

She stressed that for foreign-funded enterprises, China is one of the best investment environments in the country.

"Economic development should not be an issue of national trade protection, it should instead be comprehensive liberalization." Dong went on to say that globalization makes for good business and good technology for more people to enjoy.

"Many feel that traditional industries have a contradictory relationship with the Internet, I do not think so." Dong said that in the Internet age, the biggest change is the change in efficiency and service delivery of traditional industries.

Dong then recounted a story: in the past, air-conditioning installation and air conditioning repair are both complicated procedures. Yet with the Internet, Zhuhai Gree Electric headquarters can monitor the status of all products sold, it has even become possible to predict in advance the quality of the product. If the product is faulty, maintenance personnel are dispatched immediately, before the consumer can solve the problem themselves.

However, there are still things Internet is unable to do, for example, the internet cannot replace or repair an air conditioning unit. "The Internet is a tool for us," Dong believes there are still many things that the Internet can not replace. For example, it can not replace the feelings, thoughts, communications or contact between a company and its  consumers. In addition, it  can not completely solve the issue of integrity and so on.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated by Women of China)

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