PIANOS: ECONOMIC AND COMPETITIVE CONDITIONS  
Investigation No. 332-401 Publication 3196  

Appendix E Text 4

CHINA

There are at least seven producers in China that export pianos to the United States . The quality of pianos produced in China reportedly improved in the 1980s after three major U.S. manufacturers of pianos went out of business or downsized and sold much of their production equipment to Chinese producers. In recent years, the Chinese industry has been the recipient of manufacturing technology, production equipment, and direct investment from Korea, Japan, and Europe, as well as the United States. All Chinese producers market pianos under their own names and the brand names of other companies, and they supply both the Chinese and foreign markets. Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group, Ltd. (Guangzhou), is reportedly the largest producer of pianos in China, with total company sales amounting to $61 million in 1997. Guangzhou officials report that the company has an annual production capacity of nearly 100,000 pianos and that the company supplies nearly 60 percent of the market in China. Guangzhou reportedly sells 80 percent of its production of vertical pianos in the local market in China.

With factories in Guangzhou and Macao, Guangzhou both markets pianos under its own label and produces pianos for many other companies. Guangzhou has a joint venture with Yamaha under which Guangzhou supplies parts to a nearby Yamaha-managed facility, with one line of assembled pianos distributed by Yamaha and another by Guangzhou. At its Guangzhou facilities, the company makes Fandrich & Sons brand pianos to the specifications of the Seattle-based company of the same name; George Steck brand pianos for Mason & Hamlin of Haverhill, MA; and Ridgewood brand vertical pianos and Sagenhaft grand pianos for Weber Piano Company of Secaucus, NJ. Guangzhou’s subsidiary in Macao, Macao Piano Factory Ltd., supplies Hastings brand vertical and grand pianos to Coast Wholesale Music, a division of Kaman Music Corp. in Compton, CA, and Maddison brand verticals and grands to Piano Exchange Group in Bradenton Springs, FL. Pianos assembled in Macao use cabinets made locally, while action assemblies and strung backs are made by the parent company in Guangzhou.

Shanghai Piano Company is the oldest piano manufacturer in China, having been established by the British more than 100 years ago. Shanghai makes pianos under a number of different names. The most common label appearing on pianos exported to the United States is Strauss. These pianos are distributed by L & M International of Nashville, TN.

Yantai Longfeng Piano Co. makes vertical pianos under the Steigerman label. The pianos are marketed in the United States by Steigerman Music Corp. Yantai was established in 1991 and outfitted with manufacturing equipment from Japan and Germany. Some of the components used to produce the pianos are also imported from Japan and Germany. The company also employs technical expertise from Germany and the United Kingdom. Yantai was scheduled to produce 7,000 vertical pianos in 1997, with 80 percent expected to be exported.

Beijing Piano Company makes Kawai brand vertical pianos for Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Co. under an agreement entered into in 1995. Beijing Piano also makes vertical pianos for Baldwin Piano & Organ, sold under the Wurlitzer label, and large verticals and grand pianos for Story & Clark.

Dongbei Piano Group reportedly produces 20,000 vertical pianos per year. The company began making Everett brand vertical pianos in 1995. These pianos are marketed by Wrightwood Enterprises, Inc. (Lansing, MI), which owns the Everett name. Dongbei purchased the manufacturing equipment of Nordiska after the Swedish company went out of business. Dongbei began exporting Nordiska brand pianos in 1998 to Geneva International of Wheeling, IL. Dongbei also makes Sagenhaft vertical pianos for Weber Piano Company of Secaucus, NJ, as well as a line of small- and medium-sized verticals for Storey & Clark under the Prelude brand.

Young Chang (of Korea) began production of vertical and grand pianos in 1995 in Tianjin, where the company had previously begun production of cast iron plates used in the company’s Korean piano factories. Several models of pianos from the Tianjin plant are exported to the United States. The pianos are reportedly assembled from a Chinese back, plate, and cabinet, while the action assemblies are made in Korea. Some spruce soundboards and certain wood stock are imported from Young Chang’s sawmill in Tacoma, WA.

After Kimball closed the last of its piano production facilities in West Baden Springs, IN, in 1996, its production equipment was sold to a new company in China, Artfield Piano Ltd. Artfield reportedly makes vertical pianos under the Krakauer brand (formerly owned by Kimball). These pianos are offered in both American furniture-style and European-style cabinets. The Krakauer pianos incorporate a number of parts imported from Japan and Germany. Artfield also offers private label pianos made entirely from parts of Chinese origin. 

 

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