Haier Group

Headquarters: Qingdao, China

Industry sector: Household appliances

In the competitive household appliance sector, Haier is a brand that stands on par with the global market leaders – an achievement that few of its Chinese contemporaries have managed. An ambitious expansion plan saw it move first into neighbouring Asian markets and then to the United States; more recently, emerging economies have been a focus and it has brokered deals with several Latin American governments to bring its products to their people at affordable prices. With an IP team that was set up as early as 1992 – another pioneering move for a Chinese company – intellectual property has long been an integral part of its corporate strategy. Reporting directly to management, the IP function has veto power over many strategic decisions, especially those relating to overseas operations. The acquisitions of Panasonic’s Sanyo Electric units in 2011 and Fisher & Paykel in 2012 have further enhanced Haier’s IP and technology portfolio, and its 8,000-plus patent arsenal continues to grow. The company has also increased its focus on open innovation, having recently launched an online platform linking inventors to those in need of particular technologies.