Weichai staff members celebrate the 65th anniversary of the group. Provided to China Daily
In 1946, when Weichai Power Co Ltd was founded as a small diesel engine factory in the city of Weifang in eastern Shandong, no one could have imagined that 65 years later it would be one of the largest auto parts suppliers in China.
But the path was far from smooth. Fifty-two years later, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy, far from its status today as a national leader in manufacturing.
A corporate culture that stresses awareness of risks and the confidence to overcome them has powered the miraculous achievements, said Tan Xuguang, chairman of State-owned Weichai Power.
"You could never have a second Weichai, even with the same factories, facilities, technologies, systems and funds," said Tan. "That`s because the corporate culture is an invisible asset that exclusively belongs to Weichai`s employees, and no other people could possibly buy or steal it."
The culture at Weichai Power "first and foremost highlights firm execution", said the chairman.
After Tan took the helm in 1998, a series of new policies reformed the distribution system, streamlined offices, upgraded technologies and improved marketing operations.>>
"No one knows about better than the Weichai Power`s employees who experienced the most difficult time in 1998," said Tan. "The awareness of crisis has greatly aroused our passion and encouraged us to keep innovating."
With that passion, the company established a joint-stock system in 2004, went public in Hong Kong, and in the following years expanded onto the global market.
The corporate culture at Weichai Power also includes tolerance, communication and responsibility.
"Tolerance means to learn from and cooperate with others, and communication is the method to enhance mutual understanding," Tan explained.
When the company acquired French diesel engine and gearbox maker Moteurs Baudouin three years ago, the concepts of tolerance and communication played an important role.
Moteurs Baudouin is a century-old engine manufacturer with good reputation in Europe. Although the company was badly damaged in the 2008 financial crisis, many of its employees refused to accept the acquisition because they believed China was a less developed country and could not have good companies.
But Weichai did not back out. Instead it invited Moteurs Baudouin`s executives to visit its facilities in Weifang to show that it is a world-class engine manufacturer.
After two years of integrating resources, Moteurs Baudouin is today Weichai`s spearhead in the European market.
"Weichai is not only playing a key role in China`s auto equipment manufacturing, but has also won international recognition," Tan said. "Our mission and the nation`s expectations have decided that the company must take more responsibility."
By Zhang Zhao and Zhou Kun (China Daily)