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  Haier tops list of admired brands  



Shanghai: Already one of the country's most famous brands, Haier Group was Tuesday awarded the title of "China's Most Admired Company" for 2006, based on the findings of a survey conducted by Fortune China and Chinese firm Hay Group.

This is the first time a Chinese company has been involved in compiling the list, which this year ranked Lenovo Group and Baosteel in second and third place.

"We conducted the survey to introduce the achievements of top Chinese companies to the world," said Chen Wei, general manager of Hay Group.

"It is also a good opportunity for Chinese companies to learn from domestic and world-famous companies," he added.

Haier Group, which was founded in 1984 and has headquarters in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, is now one of the world's leading domestic appliance manufacturers.

"Haier has succeeded because of its endless pursuit of innovation," said Zhang Ruimin, president of Haier Group.

Haier's earnings totalled 150 billion yuan (US$18.75 billion) in 2005.

Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, worked with Fortune Magazine to conduct research to determine the world's most admired companies since 1997.

"So far, Chinese companies have lacked international scope," Chen said.

"Most Chinese companies are small-scale and limited to the domestic market...But all of those listed among China's most admired companies have undergone great development in recent years."

The study surveyed about 25,000 directors and executives from local eligible companies, as well as financial analysts, to identify the companies that enjoy the strongest reputations.

"Successful businesspeople have the right to evaluate a company's reputation, rather than consumers and media, because they have a feeling for the business world," Chen said.

About 418 eligible companies were ranked based on nine criteria.

These included innovation, employee liquidity, financial performance, management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, long-term investment value, products or services and effectiveness in doing business globally.

Among the 1,576 valid responses, the 25 companies which earned the highest scores were named on China's most admired companies all-star list.

There are no hotels on the top 25 list, although both Jinjiang Group and China Travel Service Group were included in the research.

According to Hay Group, companies listed as the world's most admired companies in past years performed better than those listed on the Fortune 500 and Standard & Poors 500.

"Most of world's most admired companies spent a lot of time and energy in leadership development, talent training and company culture construction," Chen said.

According to the worldwide survey, Toyota, the Japanese manufacturer of the world's best-selling hybrid car, jumped up three places to the No 2 spot, becoming the highest-ranked company outside of the United States.

"Chinese companies can learn from Toyota's continuous improvement," Chen said.

The week-long study began on August 12. Eligible companies must have earned at least 5 billion yuan (US$625 million) in annual revenue in 2005.





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