惠而浦的英文名字是Whirlpool,意思是“漩涡”。

Whirlpool’s English name refers to a “whirlpool” or “vortex” of water.

总部位于美国密歇根州奔腾港的惠而浦集团创立于1911年,全球员工92,000人,有65家生产基地、研发中心以及设计中心,业务领域涉及冰箱、洗衣机、干衣机、厨房电器、小家电等等产品。2018年,惠而浦集团全球营收约210亿美元。

The Whirlpool Group, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA was founded in 1911 and employs 92,000 staff around the world at 65 production sites, R&D and design centers with a focus on various products including refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, kitchen appliances, small household appliances, and so forth. Whirlpool Group commanded a global revenue of approximately $21 billion USD in 2018.

作为一家百年老店,惠而浦长期盘踞在美国白色家电市场的头把交椅,在北美、南美市场占有率稳居第一,在欧洲、中东、非洲的市场占有率也稳保第二的位置,是毋庸置疑的龙头。

A well-established, century-old brand, Whirlpool has comfortably dominated the white goods market of the United States for some time. A stable market leader in the North and South American markets, Whirlpool is also the second most dominant brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, making it an undeniable leader in its industry.

那么,当这位“世界级”的大牛企业登陆中国市场呢?

So then how did the world-class company’s entry into the Chinese market go?

How does one overcome the challenges of localization?

1994年,惠而浦家电集团进入中国市场。那一年的中国家电市场中,彩电有长虹有飞利浦有松下,洗衣机有海尔有西门子有荣事达,惠而浦初来乍到虽崭露头角,但对于大多数中国消费者来说,这仍是个稍感陌生的名字。

The Whirlpool Appliance Group entered the Chinese market in 1994. China’s home appliance market was then also providing Changhong, Philips, and Panasonic color TVs and Haier, Siemens and Royalstar washing machines that year. Whirlpool may have jumped in with a highly qualified splash, but has nonetheless remained a somewhat unfamiliar name to the majority of Chinese consumers.

为加强本土化,惠而浦先后与北京雪花冰箱、上海水仙洗衣机、广东蚬华电器、深圳蓝波空调等本土企业成立合资公司。然而,这家世界上最大、业务遍及全球的大型家用电器制造商,惠而浦进入中国前20年的发展得不好也不坏——并未尽如人意。

Whirlpool entered into joint ventures with various local enterprises including Beijing Snowflake, Shanghai Narcissus, Guangdong Xianhua, and Shenzhen Blue Wave in a bid to localize itself more fully. However, the world’s biggest, and a truly global, large-scale major domestic appliances manufacturer has seen neither particularly outstanding nor poor growth results in China for the last 20 years – and that is far from ideal.

故事的转折点似乎发生在两年前。

A turning point in the narrative may have occurred 2 years ago.

2017年,市场需求逐步饱和,中国企业纷纷出海,惠而浦亚太区亟待变革。正是这一年,吴胜波入职惠而浦并出任惠而浦集团全球执委会常委、执行副总裁、亚太区总裁兼惠而浦(中国)股份有限公司董事长。彼时的他已经在GE供职过十六年,在霍尼韦尔四年,在西门子五年;平日里喜欢煮饭和游泳,是职场上出了名的“救火队员”。

Many Chinese companies expanded abroad in 2017 as market demand gradually reached saturation and Whirlpool’s Asia-Pacific region found itself in need of urgent change. Wu Shengbo also joined Whirlpool Group’s Global Executive Committee as Executive Vice President, President of Whirlpool Asia and Chairman of Whirlpool (China) Co., Ltd. in the same year after 16 years at GE, 4 years at Honeywell, and 5 years at Siemens; he is also partial to the hobbies of cooking and swimming and has earned some recognition as the workplace’s resident “firefighter”.

艾诚:我们发现制造业出现了一个有趣的现象:外资品牌要进军中国市场,但中国品牌要走出去。您怎么看?

Gloria Ai: We’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in the manufacturing industry: foreign brands are trying to get into the Chinese market while Chinese brands are looking to expand abroad. How do you view that?

吴胜波:首先我觉得很自豪,我们国内的企业发展到现在能够走向全世界,我觉得是一件非常值得自豪的事情。

Wu Shengbo: First of all, I take great pride in it. I feel the fact our Chinese companies have developed to the point where they can now expand to the rest of the world is something about which I’m really very proud.

其次,我也看到很多企业带着在国内市场成功的经验去到国外市场,未见得就一定会成功。就像很多外资来中国会水土不服,这些是需要企业的领导者去考虑的,品牌怎么做?渠道怎么做?产品怎么做?服务怎么做?怎么去适应当地文化?是完全用中国模式套用到国外,还是要入乡随俗?这说起来很简单,实际上做起来很复杂。

Secondly, I’ve also seen a lot of companies take their successful experiences in the domestic Chinese market overseas, but this is not necessarily a recipe for success, just as with the many foreign companies who find they cannot quite get acclimatized in China. It is something the company leadership needs to be aware of – how should we handle our branding? And channels? How should we handle our products? Our services? How can we best adapt to the local culture? Should we just flatly apply our Chinese template abroad or try to “do in Rome as the Romans do”? It may sound easy, but it is very complicated in practice.

艾诚:摆在惠而浦面前的难题是,中国的家电行业是一片红海,竞争极其激烈,您有什么独一无二的策略,来实现要让惠而浦成为中国外资家电第一名的目标呢?

Gloria Ai: The challenge facing Whirlpool is: China’s home appliance industry is a sophisticated arena filled with competitors. What unique strategies have you put in place to achieve your target of making Whirlpool the first among foreign appliance brands in China?

吴胜波:从消费的角度来讲,不仅仅是家电,包括其他的品类,它永远是一个金字塔模型,在这个金字塔里边来看,尤其是到产品升级换代的时候,更看重什么呢?

Wu Shengbo: From the consumer’s point-of-view, it is not just about home appliances, but there are other categories too. It’s always going to be a pyramid model. Looking inside the pyramid, particularly at product upgrades and replacements, what do we value more?

一个是品牌,一个是功能。

One is brand, another performance.

一年前,吴胜波讲起惠而浦的中国梦,他满脸挂着自信:“惠而浦在美国的品牌定位一直是中高端,我们在中国要和博世展开竞争,让消费者广泛使用我们的产品。当前正处于消费升级的时代,这对公司来说是一个难得的机遇。”

Wu Shengbo spoke of Whirlpool’s “Chinese dream” last year, declaring very confidently that: ”Whirlpool’s brand position in the United States has always been at the medium-to-high end, and we are going to open up the competition with Bosch in China to get a very wide range of consumers to enjoy the use of our products. Currently, we are in an era of “upgraded consumption”, which presents a rare opportunity for the company.”

一年后,吴胜波仍然信誓旦旦:“惠而浦要力争成为外资家电的中国第一名”。显而易见,短则2年,长则25年,惠而浦的中国梦还尚未实现。

A year later and Wu Shengbo still vows: ”Whirlpool is going to do its upmost to become the top foreign home appliance brand in China”. It is readily apparent that, whether on a shorter time frame of 2 years or a longer of 25, that Whirlpool has yet to achieve its “Chinese dream”.

2010年,国外家电品牌和国内家电品牌的市场占有率分别是49%和51%。到2019年一季度,这个数字变为39%和61%。这也说明,进军中国市场的惠而浦不仅要面对其他世界级外资企业的竞争,还要迎接正在冉冉升起的本土企业的挑战。

As of 2010, the level of market share taken by foreign home appliance brands versus domestic brands stood at 49% and 51% respectively. As of the first quarter of 2019, this figures now stands at 39% and 61%. It also means that Whirlpool not only faces stiff competition from other world-class foreign companies in entering the Chinese market, but also the rising stars of local enterprise.

这个时代不同于任何“曾经”。国产品牌愈发强势,海尔、美的、格力三家鼎立,再加上方太、苏泊尔、奥克斯等细分领域品牌也势头强劲,外资品牌在中国的市场空间可谓所剩无几。

It marks an era different to any “has been”. An increasingly strong domestic presence includes industry leaders Haier, Midea, and Gree as well as those of various subsectors with Fotile, Supor, AUX and others also enjoying upward momentum. The amount of market space left for foreign brands in China could be described as a “little lacking”.

身陷中国家电市场的红海,惠而浦的后来者吴胜波凭什么如此乐观?

Having plunged into the competitive arena of China’s home appliance market, what is the basis upon which Wu Shengbo, Whirlpool’s newer arrival, can be so optimistic?

吴胜波并不相信中国家电市场会成为100%的内资市场,这其中一定存在空间,消费人群希望买到有差异化的产品。正如身处北美市场的惠而浦纵然如鱼得水,但也并没有发展成为“垄断者”。

Wu Shengbo does not believe that China’s home appliance market will be 100% dominated by domestically-funded companies, but that some space will certainly be left for consumers interested in differentiated products. It is exactly analogous to Whirlpool itself which, despite its strong level of success in the North American market, has yet to develop into a “monopoly”.

或许正如吴胜波所说,在每一个细分市场中,老百姓的选择是趋于合理的。北美市场也不止有一两家本土品牌,还有欧洲的品牌和亚洲的品牌。只要有好的品牌,好的产品,好的质量,好的服务,总能找到自己的市场。

Perhaps we will see just what Wu Shengbo remarked: people’s choices tend toward what is rational in every segment of the market. Nor is the North American market limited to only one or two local brands, but features European and Asian brands as well. As long as you have a good brand, good products, good quality, and good service, you’ll always be able to find your niche.

From whence do users’ frustrations arise?

“酒香不怕巷子深”。但在中国市场,这是行不通的。

”Build it and they will come” does not necessarily work in the Chinese market.

就像吴胜波所说,一是品牌,二是功能。功能再好,没人知道这个品牌那就是无济于事。但,什么是“做品牌”?是为了增加知名度吗?

As Wu Shengbo puts it: the brand comes first; performance second. It doesn’t matter how good your performance is if no one knows about your brand. However, what exactly does “handling” your brand involve? Is it about increasing visibility?

显然,品牌并不是营销。

Of course, one’s brand is not just about one’s marketing.

对于吴胜波来说,他投入品牌、提升品牌的目的,是为了让消费者愿意去买他的产品,于是,“做品牌”更重要在于讲清楚品牌所代表的意义。

From Wu Shengbo’s perspective, his aim when investing in and improving the brand is ultimately to help persuade consumers to purchase their products. Hence, it is more important that they present a clear explanation of what the brand represents when “branding”. 

为了解放人的双手,惠而浦发明了洗衣机,到今天,我们的洗衣机能够自动检测出是什么样的污渍,自动决定放多少洗涤剂,自动决定水温,达到最好的洗涤效果,洗完拿出来就可以穿在身上。”吴胜波说,这就是为什么惠而浦的Slogan是 “Every Day, Care”,100多年时间,惠而浦始终在用工匠精神服务用户。

Whirlpool invented the washing machine to set our hands free. Now our washing machines can automatically check what kind of stains there are, decide automatically how much cleaning agent to use and at what temperature to set it for the best clean so you can just take it out and wear it afterwards. Wu Shengbo remarks that is why Whirlpool’s slogan is “Every Day, Care”. Whirlpool has been consistently serving customers with a craftsman-like focus for over a century.

艾诚:一家百年的企业要持续创新,这样的创新是如何持续保持的呢?

Gloria Ai: A hundred-year-old company needs to innovate constantly. How is this innovativeness maintained?

吴胜波:你要不断去了解消费者生活当中的痛点是什么。为什么以前人们收入低的时候没有家电,条件稍微有改善了就去买家电?因为家电能够解放他们的时间。所以很简单,不断创新的来源是什么?Know your consumer, Know your life. 去解决他们生活当中的痛点。

Wu Shengbo: You have to be always going and trying to understand what the frustrations are for consumers in terms of their everyday lives. Why is it that people did not have home appliances before when incomes were low, but then went out to purchase them when their financial situations improved? Because home appliances can free up their time. So it’s very simple. What is the source of continual innovation? ”Know your consumer, Know your life”. Go and understand: what are the frustrations in people’s everyday lives?

艾诚:您还有什么杀手锏?

Gloria Ai: What other stratagems will you be using?

吴胜波:惠而浦要求两件事情必须要做到:第一是我们自己有没有用,知道不知道这里边的痛点是什么;第二是我们愿意不愿意把产品推荐给妈妈?

Wu Shengbo: Whirlpool demands we achieve two things: the first is, do we use it? Do we know what the frustrations are within? The second is, would we happily recommend this product to our moms?

艾诚:为什么要推荐给妈妈来用?

Gloria Ai: Why recommend it to your mom?

吴胜波:妈妈是最挑剔的,如果你没有信心把这款产品推荐给你的母亲,something is wrong!所以我们要不断用这种战战兢兢的精神去做产品。产品不是为了赚钱,产品是什么?是让我的母亲愿意去用,她用得开心。

Wu Shengbo: Moms are the pickiest consumers. If you don’t have the confidence to recommend this product to your mum, something is wrong! So we will always adopt a very cautious and diligent attitude when it comes to our products. Our products are not about making money. What are they? They are what my mom will be happy to use – easily and joyfully.

每每提起自家产品的“革命性”创新,吴胜波总是“不吝赞美”且“妈妈信赖”,眼镜片后那双眼睛很是得意。

Wu Shengbo never shies from praise or the idea of a “mother’s trust” whenever the ‘revolutionary’ innovations of one of his company’s products comes up in the course of our conversation, his eyes conveying a sense of satisfaction behind his glasses.

然而,撇开惠而浦亚太区总裁的身份,作为家电市场消费者的其中一员,在美国生活了十几年的吴胜波不敢相信,惠而浦这么好的一个品牌,这么一个在美国占据顶尖地位的品牌,这么多年来在中国不温不火。

Apart from the identity of Whirlpool’s Asia President, as a member of consumer in the home appliance market, Wu Shengbo, who has lived in the U.S. over a decade, can’t believe that such an outstanding brand which dominates in the U.S. could find a lukewarm reception in China after so many years.

面对这个产品优秀的“百年老店中国梦”,“救火队员”吴胜波涌起满腔热情。

“Firefighter” Wu Shengbo clearly has a passion for his products and the great “Chinese dream” of this century-old brand.

新官上任三把火,吴胜波上任以来搞出了许多“大动作”。2017年11月,惠而浦合肥智能工厂投产之后,惠而浦在华发展已经有了工业4.0智能工厂、全球研发中心、中国总部三位一体的创新平台支撑。2018年5月,惠而浦全球研发中心及中国总部于安徽合肥正式启用。

Wu Shengbo’s arrival at his current position was quickly followed by the launch of some major initiatives just as a”new broom sweeps clean”. Whirlpool completed its Hefei smart factory in November 2017 and their China-based development now encompasses a three-in-one innovative platform support featuring an Industry 4.0 smart factory, global R&D center and Chinese headquarters. The global R&D center and Chinese headquarters in Hefei, Anhui officially opened in May 2018.

吴胜波带领的转型升级使惠而浦开始进一步向中国家电产业高端市场延伸。2018年,惠而浦中国实现净利润同比大幅增长,营收总收入达62.9亿元,归属于上市公司股东的净利润2.6亿元,实现年度扭亏为盈。

The transformations and improvements led by Wu Shengbo have begun to extend Whirlpool more towards China’s high-end home appliances market. Whirlpool China’s net profits experienced significant growth over 2018 compared with the year prior, with total sales revenue reaching 6.29 billion RMB with 260 million RMB of net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company, a recovery into profitability for the year.

吴胜波总结道,百年来惠而浦只做了四件事,而这四件事屹立了它全世界范围内家电的领袖地位。第一是品牌领导力,第二是产品领导力,第三是运营优异,第四是人才机制。

Wu Shengbo’s summary is that Whirlpool has just needed to do four things right for the past century, and it is these four tasks that have well and truly established Whirlpool as an appliance leader around the world. The first is brand leadership, the second is product leadership, the third is excellent operations, and the fourth is good personnel development systems.

言外之意,只要这四件事做好,就足够推动一个企业持续的前进。吴胜波坦言:“我是没有本事发明第五件事情,我就踏踏实实地把这四件事情做好、做细、做精。”

The implication here is that the achievement of these four tasks is enough to propel the company onwards to continual progress. Wu Shengbo states frankly that: ”I don’t have the ability to invent a fifth thing. I just need to make sure these four tasks are done solidly in a good, careful, and precise manner.”

吴胜波很通透,他不仅对企业进行了精准的分析,并且始终将自己放在消费者而非惠而浦集团全球执委会常委、执行副总裁的身份位置,就像他说的:我们都是消费者,我们都是社会的一部分。站在惠而浦的“漩涡”之中,压力与动力并肩齐驱,他却从未后悔过。

Wu Shengbo is quite open and straightforward, not only in his precise business analysis, but also in the way he always tries to put himself in the position of a consumer rather than EVP on Whirlpool Group’s Global Executive Committee. As he says: ”We’re all consumers. We’re all a part of society.” All the pressure and motivation must make for a powerful combo, but it is something Wu Shengbo has never regretted from the middle of Whirlpool’s “whirlpool”.