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The Development of Green Wheels Giant in China

2008-10-23    Source:english.chinabuses.com

Michelin has sunk $440 million into the Chinese market since 1996 and was the first international tire maker to set up its office in China. After establishing its sales office in Hong Kong in 1988, Michelin set up its first mainland representative office in Beijing in 1989 to promote its products and prepare the distribution channels in major cities. It shows Michelin's confidence in China and the local market. The policy of market opening-up and reform offers a good opportunity to Michelin by providing a favorable business investment environment.


However, in the early times, how to leverage the cultural differences and combine Michelin's company culture with China's developing environment was the big challenge for Michelin. Michelin management realized that they needed to build up a strong local management team.


In late 1980s, a personal automobile was still out of reach for most Chinese people and as a result China's tire industry was in its infancy and professional talent was scarce. In the early 1990s, most of the Chinese managers' knowledge about management was quite limited, so Michelin Group sent over 10 managers from France. It leveraged the strengths and weaknesses between different cultures and the knowledge spread better and faster inside the company. The company later also sent Chinese employees to France for training. Michelin understood the challenge very well from the beginning. That's why most of the people that Michelin Group sent to China were not managers but technology experts. However, today, 15 Chinese are now working in high-level positions in France and other regional headquarters. In China, it has 5,500 employees and plans to hire more as its business expands.


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