Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Haier bids for Maytag - Poor PR hurts its chances

Unless Haier's PR and communications surrounding its attempted acquisition of Maytag improve dramatically - and quickly - China's business community will get a collective lesson on the value and importance of communications, particularly in a market with a free press. After being interviewed by US media outlets, it's clear to me that a series of missteps and poor communication are not serving Haier well. If I were a leader of the union that represents workers in Maytag's plants, I'd be leaning heavily on Sen. Tom Harkin to oppose this sale.

Lenovo's acquisition of IBM's PC business was not important news in the US. Haier's attempt to purchase a brand as iconic as Maytag, and in America's heartland, however, could become big news. Haier could still use this as an opportunity to increase its name and brand recognition in the US; something that would be a strong positive should the rumored offering on Wall Street come to pass.

At this point, however, the company is poised to become a "case study" in how NOT to purchase US companies.