ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Business

Gree Electric's cool 'iron lady'

Dong Mingzhu, chairman of Gree Electric Appliances

GUANGZHOU -- Dong Mingzhu is a gambler. As chairwoman of Chinese air conditioner maker Gree Electric Appliances, Dong bet 1 billion yen ($165 million) that her company's sales would be higher than smartphone business Xiaomi's over the next five years.

     She joined the company as a salesperson when she was 36 years old and worked her way through the ranks. Dong became president 10 years after joining Gree Electric. The key to her success is said to be her practicality and determination. 

     Known as a hard-working figure, stories of Dong abound. When she broke her leg, she refused to let go of her business, visiting clients while in plaster. In another instance, after a client refused to pay for delivered products, Dong hounded the customer for 40 straight days until all goods were returned to Gree Electric.

     Her philosophy is simple and unique in China: People will pay for quality. One electrical goods store was selling Gree's products at discount without permission. When Dong heard of this, she immediately had her company's goods withdrawn from the store. These stories earned Dong the nickname "the Iron Lady."  

     Gree Electric posted nearly 100 billion yuan ($16.37 billion) in sales in 2012. It looks like it will achieve its goal of 120 billion yuan in sales this year. Next year the company wants to add another 20 billion yuan to its sales.

     The key to its continued growth is exports. The company is considering building a factory in the U.S. to gain a foothold in developed countries. The majority of its sales are currently in emerging economies. As an initial move, it has set up sales companies in the U.S.

     Dong generated a media buzz by appearing in the TV commercial of a refrigerator maker to which her company provides cooling technology. Whether Gree Electric, which has specialized in air conditioners for many years, plans to diversify is being watched closely. Whatever happens, Dong's staff must be sure to remember her mantra: "I am always right."

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends June 30th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media