Chinese cities underpin the made in China brand for global musical instruments

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A worker checks pianos at a piano factory in the city of Luoshe. Photo: CGV

Luoshe Town, a small city in Zhejiang Province (East China), produces more than 50,000 pianos per year, accounting for one-seventh of China’s total piano production. Pianos made here are exported to more than 20 countries and regions, including Germany, the United States, France, Thailand and Russia.

The booming musical instrument industry represents a quintessence of China’s musical instrument trade in Chinese villages and townships. Pianos, violins, guitars, electro-acoustic instruments, Western musical instruments made in China, mostly from these little-known counties, accounted for more than half of the total global production volume, according to the data, as workers in small Chinese towns maintain world music.

Luoshe piano town

At present, there are more than 110 piano industry-related enterprises in Luoshe City, including 65 piano manufacturing enterprises and 49 accessories enterprises, CCTV reported.

In 2021, the total output value of its piano industry exceeded 600 million yuan ($82.62 million), and 3,000 of the 24,000 permanent residents work in piano-related industries.

Jin Yicheng, head of Zhejiang Yueyun Piano Co, is one of the city’s 3,000 residents involved in piano manufacturing.

“This year, our piano export volume has increased by 10%, and the main reason is that we have expanded new customers in the United States and South Korea,” Jin told the Global Times on Monday, adding that he had seen more orders coming in during the second half of the year.

Compared with overseas competitors, Chinese-made pianos have an advantage in price and manufacturing efficiency, Jin said.

“A high degree of industrialization and standardization in China means that we can meet customers’ needs with a shorter delivery time and meet their customization needs more easily,” Jin said.

According to the China Musical Instrument Association (CMIA), as China’s supply chain recovered earlier from the epidemic compared to foreign countries, China’s product supply capacity responded quickly. to market demand, promoting the growth of musical instrument exports.

Since 2022, despite repeated epidemics and international geopolitical conflicts that have led to shrinking overseas musical instrument markets, overall demand has been relatively stable, the association said.

In the first half of the year, China’s musical instrument exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations amounted to $116 million, up 10.48 percent year-on-year annual. The value of exports to APEC economies rose 4.08 percent to $667 million, while exports to countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative reached 200 million, up 2.32%.

Looking forward to the second half of the year, export growth should remain resilient, according to the organization.

guitar hub

In the first half of 2022, exports of electric musical instruments accounted for 34.77 percent of the total value of musical instrument exports, followed by string instruments, percussion instruments and pianos, according to the association.

Tangwu City in Weifang, Shandong Province (East China), is well known for its guitar production and manufacturing. Earth Music in the City entered the global market in June 2020.

The local industrial park currently has 51 mature factories dedicated to producing guitars, which has spurred the development of more than 50 supporting industrial enterprises in the surrounding area, with a total of 108 enterprises in 2022, Zhao Weiguo, the founder of Earth Music, told the Global Times on Monday.

Faced with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the company moved the majority of its operations online and launched stores on Amazon and eBay. About 10,000 Eart guitars were sold from June 2020 to June 2021, while sales topped more than 20 million yuan in the international market, Zhao noted.

“Guitars made in China are of higher quality, and a large number of overseas consumers and musicians have expressed their satisfaction on social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, which is the best advertisement for Chinese brands,” Zhao said. .

Eart’s main consumers come from Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia, with the United States currently having the most consumers, while the company has recently signed agency contracts with countries such as Russia, UK, Thailand, Singapore, Argentina, Kuwait and Mexico.

Graphics: Chen He/GT

Graphics: Chen He/GT

To advance

The advantage in price and production line has helped to increase production and helped these Chinese cities to win a number of orders.

According to data released by the CMIA, China’s annual piano production accounted for 69.23 percent of the global total while the production of major Western musical instruments exceeded half of the global total in 2019.

According to customs statistics, the total export value of Chinese musical instruments was 2.34 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, up 24.26 percent year-on-year.

However, a challenge for the future development of Chinese musical instruments is to establish, perfect and promote domestic brands and their cultures due to their late arrival in the industry, the companies said.

“There is still a branding gap compared to foreign brands and it is difficult for us to catch up in the short term. On the other hand, some old foreign brands still have assets to manufacture pianos at the top of performance, which makes them occupy a place of choice. large number of high-end markets,” Jin said.

Taking electric guitars for example, electric guitar culture originated in the West, Chinese brands have developed following the path taken by Western companies, according to Zhao, noting that Chinese companies can learn from their production experience and consumer feedback to improve the design. and user experiences for their own products.

At the same time, the support measures implemented by the government to help domestic brands expand overseas play an indispensable role in the development of the industry.

Relevant local authorities have done their utmost to help regional enterprises, which will promote the establishment of a good business environment for enterprises as well as their operation and development, Zhao said, adding that the enterprise aims expand its business to 150 countries and regions over the next three years. years.

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