Case Study

Ningbo Fotile Kitchenware

4 pages
November 2015
Reference: IMD-7-1667

In 2014, Ningbo Fotile Kitchenware (Fotile) Co., Ltd, a leader in China’s high-end built-in kitchen appliance market was ranked Number 1 by sales in the high-end kitchen appliance market for the tenth consecutive year. Company ownership was entirely in the hands of four Mao family members, founder Mao Lixiang, his wife Zhang Zhaodi, their son Zhongqun, and their daughter Xuefei. During the company’s crisis in 1995, Lixiang persuaded his son Zhongqun to abandon PhD study plans in the US and join the company to help save it. They accepted Zhongqun’s conditions that the company must reinvent itself, relocate from the contryside to a new district, and that, other than the three of them, no relatives would be allowed to hold management positions in the company. Zhongqun’s strategy was successful and resulted in the company’s rapid growth. Upon his father’s retirment in 2006, Zhongqun took over as chairman. By 2014, the company was still growing rapidly and ownership remained unchanged. The family was bent on keeping the business 100% family-owned. In fact, Zhongqun aimed to build Fotile into a 500-year old company rather than a Fortune 500 company.

Learning Objective

This case sets the scene for a discussion on combining succession with reinventing the business. It also serves for a debate on whether siblings should work in the same family business or not.

Kitchen Manufacturer, Family Ownership, Family Continuity, Family Values, Family Succession
Asia, China
Ningbo Fotile Kitchen Ware, Consumer Goods, Home Appliances
Published Sources
© 2015
Available Languages
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