One of China’s best known businesswomen is sticking to her target of tripling her white goods empire’s annual revenue in the next few years, despite trade tensions abroad and slowing growth at home. Dong Mingzhu, the outspoken chairwoman of Gree Electric and a delegate to the National People’s Congress, said the company still aimed to reach 600 billion yuan (US$89.4 billion) in revenue in the coming years, three times the total achieved in 2018. Dong, 64, “leaked” the sales target she wanted to reach by 2023 in January, earning her a public rebuke from the Guangzhou branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which found her in breach of information disclosure rules. She said overseas sales accounted for about 20 per cent of Gree’s total so China’s trade war with the United States would have a limited impact on the company, while also ruling out expanding offshore markets through price cuts. “The key question is whether the product is good or not – if a company fails because of a trade war, it probably means the company is not strong enough,” said Dong during the National People’s Congress “We could take the easy route to make the [overseas] markets much bigger by either lowering our prices … but I’m not choosing it. The days of low price competition are over for China.” She also said she was confident about the company’s future despite slowing property sales in China – often a lead indicator for home appliance sales. “Air conditioners don’t sell just because many new homes are built. You have to constantly upgrade your products to improve quality and life for consumers. Then you will have a market,” she added. As the public face of Gree Electric, Dong is one of the most high-profile businesswomen in China. She is the company’s ambassador and her image is used in the manufacturer’s bus, television and mobile phone campaigns. The key question is whether the product is good or not – if a company fails because of a trade war, it probably means the company is not strong enough. Dong Mingzhu Although, this did see Dong almost handed a jaywalking ticket in November last year in Ningbo after an artificial intelligence-backed surveillance system captured her image from an advertisement on the side of a moving bus. The traffic police were quick to recognise the mistake and deleted the snapshot from a huge screen erected along a street in the port city that displays images of people caught jaywalking by surveillance cameras. In addition, she attends business events, speaks out about ambitious business plans and makes headline-grabbing comments. Most recently she angered car executives by claiming that the Chinese industry in general made poor products. Asked whether she thought China’s plan to cut value-added tax for manufacturers by 3 percentage points to 13 per cent was enough, Dong said all business owners hated tax. “However, as a responsible company, we understand that society needs taxes from us to support its development,” she said. She also said she could sleep easy at night about the source of her wealth, even as many of the country’s super-rich seek to move their assets offshore. “I never worried about the safety of my property because all my income is legal – only those sitting on illegal income need to worry,” said Dong, who was third in the 2018 Forbes China Top 100 Businesswomen List.