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#2114630 - 07/08/13 12:06 PM What's a Chinese Steinway worth?  
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Jolly Offline
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Performance piano production has been attempted in China before...I know of two examples of a piano that normally sells for north of $50K, that were built in a Chinese factory, using that factory's most skilled workers. The pianos used the same materials as found in the normal production run pianos.

The experiment was done to ascertain whether a world class piano could be built in China at the time. While not up to the standards of the regular factory, many discerning people connected with the project thought future production to be feasible, based on the end product.

So, just for argument's sake, let's say that Steinway decided to move production of the O to China and the piano produced there would be sold world-wide.

Performance being equal, would you buy a Chinese Steinway? And what would you pay for it?


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#2114634 - 07/08/13 12:14 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Essex?


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#2114637 - 07/08/13 12:24 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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What really matters is whether the Chinese would buy Chinese Steinways.

Didn't Steinway open Hamburg to satisfy a European boom in demand, and wouldn't it make equal sense to start production in China?


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#2114660 - 07/08/13 12:47 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Thrill Science]  
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Originally Posted by Thrill Science
Essex?


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#2114661 - 07/08/13 12:48 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Withindale]  
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Originally Posted by Withindale
What really matters is whether the Chinese would buy Chinese Steinways.


Funny, I was talking to a dealer in the SF Bay Area who sells Hailun along with other brands. And the SF Bay Area there are a lot of Chinese people, something like 1/3 I think. She said, of all her customers it's the Chinese that won't buy Chinese pianos.

I think part of it is whether they trust the quality, but I think a bigger part of it is the Chinese are excessively status conscious.

But then again, BMW is making their cars in China for the local market.

#2114672 - 07/08/13 01:21 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Stay around here long enough, and Jolly will post the same thing as new … grin

Years ago, he posted something along the lines of "a $10,000 Steinway" thread!

At the rate of growth of skilled Chinese wages, it's probably a 35K kinda-maybe Steinway now. smile

Nonetheless, it's a serious question. Could China produce a world class piano. The answer is probably yes. But it's a hard market to break into, and a small market (despite the Chinese population) in which dozens of already established European makers are already swimming. I think my weakly researched answer is a bit of a yawn and a who cares. Japan broke into that market earlier. How many S series Yammies and Shigerus are sold?

#2114673 - 07/08/13 01:29 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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I once asked this very question Lothar Thomma.

The answer was too 'unpleasant' for me to post here.
Trust me, didn't like it either....

Mildly put: "you ain't seen nothin yet"

In less than five years most of us will look back in disbelief why we havn't seen this one coming.

Well, some already *have*...

Norbert cry


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#2114678 - 07/08/13 01:46 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Quote
Nonetheless, it's a serious question. Could China produce a world class piano. The answer is probably yes.


The answer is not probably.

The answer, as I alluded to in my opening post, is already have.

And it was done a few years ago, not within the last few days. So, the question of whether they can has been answered.

The question remains, will they?

If they do, what will we pay for it?

(Lastly, if you stick around here long enough, I do kinda stick to the same themes...but then again, you have to be around a long, long time... smirk )


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#2114679 - 07/08/13 01:47 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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I think it is foolish to underestimate the quality of Chinese pianos.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2114684 - 07/08/13 01:57 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Chinese can build high quality instruments or anything for that matter, the question is what will it sound like...

My guess is Chinese will definitely want a Steinway but will they want it to be made in China? If one can afford a Steinway why not just get one from Hamburg or NY and milk the bragging rights




#2114702 - 07/08/13 02:28 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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The more important question is will shoppers buy a high-quality Chinese made pianos.

The marketing challenges might well trump the production.


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#2114724 - 07/08/13 03:07 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Quote
The more important question is will shoppers buy a high-quality Chinese made pianos.



Those whishing to spend near Japanese pianos certainly will -
seeing the beginning of this already now...

Those wishing to spend traditional high end dollars for pianos made by traditional makers, also will.

Believing that those who have stayed out of manufacturing in China altogether will be doing somewhat better than those who didn't.

Just a hunch...

Norbert




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#2114732 - 07/08/13 03:33 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert

Those whishing to spend near Japanese pianos certainly will -
seeing the beginning of this already now...

Those wishing to spend traditional high end dollars for pianos made by traditional makers, also will.

Believing that those who have stayed out of manufacturing in China altogether will be doing somewhat better than those who didn't.

Just a hunch...

Norbert



How come all of Norbert's posts sound like they were printed on little strips of paper in fortune cookies? Not trying to be a smarty... just being amused whenever I come across a Norbert post... : )


Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal
#2114738 - 07/08/13 03:41 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Jolly,

For what my 2 cents are worth (and I hope I don't start a political fight) the Chinese model is; have the country with the desired technology (take wind turbines for example) build factories in China. Have that company build the infrastructure and China supplies the labor force along with their top engineers learning side by side and finally, get it all running. Once that technology is gained and deemed profitable, the gov't steps in and subsidizes building a mirror image of that company. The Chinese then undercut the market so steeply (remember, gov't funding) they kill the competition, put them out of business, or both.

Do I believe they can replicate a Hamburg Steinway? I'm not qualified enough to answer that but I'm not so sure I would bet against it.

Oh, I would not buy it at any cost. I think Steve had the correct answer though.....blob


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#2114746 - 07/08/13 04:01 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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They might can replicate the technology...after all, piano building is pretty mature, 19th century technology...but whatever the government factory build ain't gonna say Steinway on the fallboard.

And if it don't say Steinway, the battle is lost before they even start to fight it.


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#2114757 - 07/08/13 04:20 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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I think you forget that Steinway pianos are so popular in China precisely because it is not made in China.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2114763 - 07/08/13 04:22 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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I'm just curious as to why people would not buy a Chinese made piano if it were a premium piano? I'm somewhat new to piano world and playing, so excuse the question if the answer is blatantly obvious.

#2114764 - 07/08/13 04:28 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Well I think it is just like anything else. Companies have moved production to China for two reasons. Health insurance becoming non- affordable/workers comp bonds and wages.

Powermatic equipment of which my shop is full of bragged for years about we will never move production to China until the state of TN forced them out with insane taxes. Now the big machines we buy are still just as or more expensive than ever.

Do I want to buy American ? Sure but where is it ? I can buy something worn out that needs new bearings etc or I can buy something new. Someone should be very afraid should the US ever become involved in another conventional major conflict as there wont be a sole left here that knows how to make a paperclip much less any mechanical machine

Last edited by Nash. Piano Rescue; 07/08/13 04:30 PM. Reason: spelling

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#2114770 - 07/08/13 04:45 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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i tend to not trust chinese made products. be it cars microwaves or food.


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#2114791 - 07/08/13 05:18 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: shinegamix]  
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Originally Posted by shinegamix
i tend to not trust chinese made products. be it cars microwaves or food.

What about computers and cell phones? Or radios, TVs, Blu-Ray players?
Lots of this stuff comes from China, or at an elevated price.


Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
#2114803 - 07/08/13 05:35 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: patH]  
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i agree it is hard these days. but i tend to deviate to korean/philipino/malay made stuff(my phone is made in malay and my computer is made in indonesia). or if its possible buy local. my guitar amp is made in holland with parts originating from japan(chips resistor and stuff), after my chinese made microwave literally exploded(that seems to be normal there that phones, other electrical appliances and even a bottles of sauce just explode all on its own). sure i pay more for stuff not made there. but if you get to choose saving a couple bucks on something but have it fail or injure you during use(which will cost you more in the long run) then my choice is easy


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#2114815 - 07/08/13 05:55 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]  
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Originally Posted by Nash. Piano Rescue
Well I think it is just like anything else. Companies have moved production to China for two reasons. Health insurance becoming non- affordable/workers comp bonds and wages.

Powermatic equipment of which my shop is full of bragged for years about we will never move production to China until the state of TN forced them out with insane taxes. Now the big machines we buy are still just as or more expensive than ever.

Do I want to buy American ? Sure but where is it ? I can buy something worn out that needs new bearings etc or I can buy something new. Someone should be very afraid should the US ever become involved in another conventional major conflict as there wont be a sole left here that knows how to make a paperclip much less any mechanical machine


Got any Grizzly (Taiwan)?


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#2114816 - 07/08/13 05:57 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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There is a difference in "making things" and "product development" The real wake up call will come when the one will have progressed to the next: the Chinese may well be on the way doing exactly that.

"Product development" rather than just 'making things' is where we may well get the surprise of our time as one of Germany's largest solar company recently had to learn the hard way.

If pianos will also be affected and to which extent, remains to be seen.

Each time I'm back in Germany can't believe my eyes when looking at Henkel, Addidas, Bosch, Miele, Siemens plus countless others: they all have invested millions in Chinese production facilities not exactly making garbage.

While much of Chinese goods may well been less than spectacular in the past we're on a slightly different page today. With things moving often under our very own radar.

Joint ventures of gigantic proportions such as GM's and Volkswagen's enormous car plants as well as Mercedes' largest truck factory in the world give ample testimony of this: they've long become an entry ticket into world's largest domestic consumer market and the companies know that.

So, how about "pianos" Not possible you say?

Perhaps the Chinese actually like us to believe they can't do things. It certainly would suit their "practical" type thinking.

Better be ready when the big surprise will come.

With their demonstrated appetite for not only making but actually "owning" things, I doubt we've seen the end of all of this quite yet.

Norbert shocked


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#2114888 - 07/08/13 09:11 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Chinese wages for unskilled labor are already greater than Taiwanese wages.
They're 1/3 unskilled labor rates here in the US-- not 1/10, not 1/20th.

The great equalizer will be when the Chinese people approach our standards of living, and we're all at the same wage level.
And that's a good thing. It's not morally right for there to be sweatshops anywhere.

#2114895 - 07/08/13 09:25 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Moving the production of Steinway to China will be huge disservice to the brand equity. Their market is small enough and exclusive enough where I do not see the commercial value of taking this step, and destroying the premium commanded by that brand. However, I do think think they should move the factory from expensive real estate to some location where the value locked up by the real estate is relatively small.

Can a piano of comparable quality be produced in China? Easily -- and for all I know they may be producing them already. This is simple stuff compared to so many truly complex things being produced today. As much as we subscribe to the myths on this forum, does anybody really believe that organizations like Pearl River or Hailun cannot produce the same workmanship as the 3-4 person rebuild shops whose work is considered at par or better than what comes out of the Steinway factory?

<Duck for cover>

#2114899 - 07/08/13 09:37 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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The quality of the early Chinese pianos, exported to the non-Asian markets, were not of the greatest quality. That had to change fast and did. The increase in quality continues to this day.

Does anyone know if the pianos sold in the local Chinese markets are of the same quality that we have come to expect?

If you read about Hailun, being privately owned, it seems to buck the standard practices of the other Chinese manufacturers.

The whole development of the Chinese piano industry is very fascinating. It is interesting to compare that path taken to Yamaha and Kawai in the 1960's.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2114905 - 07/08/13 10:09 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]  
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Originally Posted by Nash. Piano Rescue
Someone should be very afraid should the US ever become involved in another conventional major conflict as there wont be a sole left here that knows how to make a paperclip much less any mechanical machine


You mean there won't be a sole left in the whole plaice?

#2114906 - 07/08/13 10:12 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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I have a good recipe for sole stuffed with crab. It might help us get through the war.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2114915 - 07/08/13 10:40 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
I have a good recipe for sole stuffed with crab. It might help us get through the war.


Sounds good! You could serve it up with a couple of squirrels on the side and some of that Châteauneuf-du-Pape mixed with maple syrup.

#2114918 - 07/08/13 10:46 PM Re: What's a Chinese Steinway worth? [Re: Jolly]  
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Quote
The whole development of the Chinese piano industry is very fascinating. It is interesting to compare that path taken to Yamaha and Kawai in the 1960's.


This is often being said but I'm not so sure this is always 100% correct.

Early Japanese production methods were based on copying everything and everybody they could lay their hands on.

Chinese did this too often to quite a pathetic level of course..

However today, companies like Pearl River,Parsons and Hailun are forging forward using entirely different methology.

Some of it is hiring the kind top guns every single western maker would be proud to have.

Another is spending unbelievable amounts of money on major plant upgrading, CNC machinery and...yes..increasingly skilled, highly dedicated labour.

This is the part we are still hugely underestimating in the West:the relentless strive by the Chinese for excellence in everything they do.

Backed by a governemnt which may be communist but means business. Serious business.

Scary?

You bet it is.

Time to sit on our laurels hoping things will or can never change is over. Time to keep belittling the Chinese, their will or ability to reach our own level and beyond - dangerous.

In fact there's good reason to assume you/we aint seen nothin yet..

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 07/08/13 10:59 PM.

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