Back in the 1980s when Zhang Ruimin arrived at state-owned firm Qingdao Refrigerator, he concluded that quality control was a major problem. To send out a signal that only the best would suffice, he ordered workers to destroy the firm’s poorly-made fridges with sledgehammers. Zhang changed the name to Haier and his firm earned a reputation for reliability.
But the white-goods giant has just had a major setback in Japan, where it has been selling washing machines since 2002. According to the Nikkei newspaper it had to recall 329,406 washers sold to Japanese consumers. Haier will offer free repair, but Nikkei reports that the move “raises questions about the safety of its products and poses a threat to the company’s growth here.”
Time to buy ‘high quality’ Japanese white goods instead? Ironically enough, WiC reported in issue 74, Japan’s Panasonic had to recall 365,000 fridges in China this summer, due their faulty temperature controls.
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