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Some Chinese Business Leaders Are Dealing With the Recession Proactively

msdongAs the West starts to brush its knees off after the ‘great recession’ China’s economy remains afloat thanks to Beijing’s $585 billion dollar spending spree. China’s stimulus package intends to boost, in part, domestic spending and give business leaders room for a deep breath as their exports dwindle or, in cases, completely stop. So far it’s working to a degree…

We’ll leave the experts to argue about how China will emerge from the global recession. What’s interesting, from my perspective, is how China’s business leaders handle a Western-based recession, increased government spending, and a foggy future.

Thanks to a compelling profile in the Telegraph we need only to look at Dong Mingzhu as an example of an extraordinary leader who values quality and methodology over shortcuts.

Dong Mingzhu, a women from a hard-working family in Nanjing, became president of electronics maker Gree in the late 1990s after she spearheaded the company’s massive expansion….

Gree, famous in China for its air-conditioners and parts manufacturing for GE, is a state-owned company that has managed to remain competitive and even aggressive as international businesses swarm into China.

Dong Mingzhu hasn’t taken day off in 20 years. Nor does Ms. Dong get the chance to spend time with her son. Her work ethic is contagious and her employees know that in order to succeed at Gree they have to mirror her commitment. Even though she presides over a state-run company she still makes a large annual salary (around $7 million a year) and always challenges laziness and convention.

When pressed on China’s stimulus plan, Ms. Dong refuses to get excited about the chance for subsidized domestic business. She wants her products to improve in quality and price so her firm can tackle Western markets. The recent financial crisis finds Ms. Dong realigning her strengths and improving her overhead so she can push Gree into new markets with a competitive advantage.

Ms. Dong is a Chinese leader who meets the recession with innovation and a generous stimulus package with guarded optimism. Future success, Ms. Dong contends, will hinge on quality and price rather than stimulus programs and ‘buy domestic products’ campaigns.

Ms. Dong’s resilience and her ability to never take shortcuts, breaks, or the easy way out has lead to Gree’s success. Proactive leaders of all stripes should note Ms. Dong’s commitment to getting the best results even though an easier road exists and is well traveled.



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