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China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry #2533244 04/23/16 10:59 AM
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Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533251 04/23/16 11:50 AM
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Rickster Offline
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Interesting article.

Ironically, it seems to mirror and validate what Norbert has been saying here on PW for years. Norbert says Chinese made pianos and the Chinese piano industry has been underestimated; and, not that what I think matters, I think Norbert's thoughts, claims and advice may well have been underestimated here as well.

I have not read all of the new edition of "PianoBuyer" by Larry Fine, but I did find this statement in the article a bit surprising.

“Chinese pianos are are already pretty close to catching up with Yamaha,” says Larry Fine, publisher of the influential Piano Book and Piano Buyer website. “Getting the musical sensitivity associated with German pianos may take a little longer but they are getting there.”

Again, more or less validating what Norbert has said here for many years.

What else can I say? Norbert, you're the MAN!! smile

Just my .02.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Rickster] #2533254 04/23/16 12:12 PM
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Derek,

I think your editor misunderstood your article. Shouldn't the headline read:

"Saving the music: how Chinese investment is rescuing Germany’s piano industry"

😉

Larry.

Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533281 04/23/16 01:33 PM
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Robert 45 Offline
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There is a sadder side to this in that the gradual demise of the acoustic piano in the West reflects the associated loss of an invaluable, enriching learning tool in a child's education. The Chinese are smart enough to reap the benefits of this and we could say that our loss is China's gain.

Piano education is thriving in China and is part of a rigorously disciplined education system in which students work harder and longer and probably achieve higher in some areas than their western counterparts. Shanghai and Hong Kong topped the world in the 2014 PISA international rankingins for Reading and Mathematics. The Confucian respect and value of a solid education remain.

China can also produce acoustic pianos very efficiently and cheaply, but only by means of a very low paid work force that work at least 10 hour days and get virtually no holidays.

On reflection, it is true that China is rescuing Germany's piano industry and is encouraging piano education, but it is a reality that affirms the faltering appeal of the acoustic piano in western culture.

Kind regards,
Robert.

Last edited by Robert 45; 04/23/16 01:41 PM.
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533286 04/23/16 01:58 PM
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Thanks Dscally for the interesting article.

I totally agree with Rickster about Norbert. I think he's a good and very clever guy (and Rickster too). smile

And as the article mentions : The irony of creating a quality product that, by its very nature, is built to last decades, he says, is that you end up competing with yourself.

Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Rickster] #2533294 04/23/16 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Interesting article.

Ironically, it seems to mirror and validate what Norbert has been saying here on PW for years. Norbert says Chinese made pianos and the Chinese piano industry has been underestimated; and, not that what I think matters, I think Norbert's thoughts, claims and advice may well have been underestimated here as well.

I have not read all of the new edition of "PianoBuyer" by Larry Fine, but I did find this statement in the article a bit surprising.

“Chinese pianos are are already pretty close to catching up with Yamaha,” says Larry Fine, publisher of the influential Piano Book and Piano Buyer website. “Getting the musical sensitivity associated with German pianos may take a little longer but they are getting there.”

Again, more or less validating what Norbert has said here for many years.

What else can I say? Norbert, you're the MAN!! smile
Rick
Many people, including Larry Fine, have been saying this about Chinese pianos for many years. Norbert has no special information. Fine's statements about Chinese pianos have not only appeared in the latest issue of the PB.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/23/16 04:22 PM.
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533307 04/23/16 03:45 PM
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"Imagine the reaction if Chinese investors moved in to snap up Volkswagen."

Nobody complained in Sweden when Chinese investors snapped up Saab.


Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533312 04/23/16 04:15 PM
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Rick:

Thanks for your kind remarks but I was never in for "being right" or having to feed some kind of ego.

Many trips home to Germany had long opened my eyes of how much production of some of her most famous companies there had long closed shop and gone to China. Near my own home town Erlangen, one of world's most advanced solar companies went almost bankrupt after the Chinese first copied and then advanced things in China. Of course this also affected some US competitors and many other Chinese firms.

But fact is that today this Chinese company is a world leader in solar energy and Germans and others are scrambling to keep up. No doubt, others will endure same or similiar fate.

IMHO one of three reason why perhaps some of the old piano families now realize it's time to bail out.
Call it a stroke of genius - and desperation...

The traditional and Western held belief that the "Chinese can only copy things" and are otherwise a "stupid, uneducated nation" has been IMHO one of the most fatal misjudgments of our times.
Where Chinese have problems and often still do in instruments akin, is the lack of a traditional and perhaps more intricate understanding of what sophisticated European musical tone is all about.

But they are learning fast. First it was a number of well known designers we watched going to China, sometimes involving some of the most advanced staff of certain factories I visited. Next we saw German technical piano master schools like Ludwigsburg filling & producing an increasing number of Chinese graduates.

These now represent the highest technical piano skill one can learn in Germany, renowned for its technical education system. Some of them now work in German factories, other have taken top jobs around the world. In some cases I know where, but won't mention "out of courtesy"....

Other instruments like violins and guitars have also made huge advances. All products that are heavily affecting those traditional makers still producing the area of Northern Bavaria. The stuff they often talk about when visiting.....

Personally I hope that there will be core of German makers left in the end but my hopes are not too high. 2 more companies are right now in discussion with Chinese investors as we speak. Others are producing wildly in China - and have for a while - this, without having made that fact particularly public.

Personally and for my own business, I heavily banked on a European piano that will never be sold to the Chinese. I can guarantee this: this company already turned down several offers to even sell there.

Perhaps the maker's well known combination of quality & price is too attractive having to look elsewhere. Not everybody has to sell to China or be worried of becoming gobbled up by them.

Perhaps there's a way of doing things right - in the first place!

[which was another one of my long held predictions.... blush ]

Norbert wink

Last edited by Norbert; 04/23/16 04:39 PM.

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Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533371 04/23/16 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many people, including Larry Fine, have been saying this about Chinese pianos for many years. Norbert has no special information. Fine's statements about Chinese pianos have not only appeared in the latest issue of the PB.

pianoloverus, this must have slipped by me here on PW. This has not been what I remember reading here the last several years. I seem to recall reading mostly how Chinese made pianos are not all that desirable for numerous reasons, and have been criticized by many here on PW. And, the fact that Larry Fine made the statement that Chinese made pianos are now at the point were they are almost as good as Yamaha... well, that statement just kind of stunned me. Of course, the fact that Yamaha, like some of the German made pianos, are now building some of their pianos in China and Indonesia, well, I would hope they would be almost as good as the pianos built in Japan.

So, no, I do not recall reading a lot of threads here of people singing the praises of Chinese made pianos, except Norbert and possibly a few others. Maybe I don't pay as much attention to what I read here as I should.

And, as far as Norbert not having any special information, I think he speaks as one having had a lot of experience with pianos, Chinese, German and otherwise.

But your point is well taken.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533374 04/23/16 08:55 PM
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It makes sense, considering that's where th biggest market is.


Poetry is rhythm
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Rickster] #2533376 04/23/16 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many people, including Larry Fine, have been saying this about Chinese pianos for many years. Norbert has no special information. Fine's statements about Chinese pianos have not only appeared in the latest issue of the PB.

pianoloverus, this must have slipped by me here on PW. This has not been what I remember reading here the last several years. I seem to recall reading mostly how Chinese made pianos are not all that desirable for numerous reasons, and have been criticized by many here on PW. And, the fact that Larry Fine made the statement that Chinese made pianos are now at the point were they are almost as good as Yamaha... well, that statement just kind of stunned me. Of course, the fact that Yamaha, like some of the German made pianos, are now building some of their pianos in China and Indonesia, well, I would hope they would be almost as good as the pianos built in Japan.

So, no, I do not recall reading a lot of threads here of people singing the praises of Chinese made pianos, except Norbert and possibly a few others. Maybe I don't pay as much attention to what I read here as I should.

And, as far as Norbert not having any special information, I think he speaks as one having had a lot of experience with pianos, Chinese, German and otherwise.

But your point is well taken.

Rick
Apparently the Chinese pianos have had a very steep improvement curve, so 5+ years ago many were probably correctly saying they weren't so good. Since Norbert repeats himself over and over and most dealers don't post on PW or only occasionally post on PW, it may give some the impression that Norbert has some knowledge other dealers don't have, but I certainly don't think that's true. There are plenty of dealers that have had extensive experience with all kinds of pianos.

Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: pianoloverus] #2533387 04/23/16 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Many people, including Larry Fine, have been saying this about Chinese pianos for many years. Norbert has no special information. Fine's statements about Chinese pianos have not only appeared in the latest issue of the PB.

pianoloverus, this must have slipped by me here on PW. This has not been what I remember reading here the last several years. I seem to recall reading mostly how Chinese made pianos are not all that desirable for numerous reasons, and have been criticized by many here on PW. And, the fact that Larry Fine made the statement that Chinese made pianos are now at the point were they are almost as good as Yamaha... well, that statement just kind of stunned me. Of course, the fact that Yamaha, like some of the German made pianos, are now building some of their pianos in China and Indonesia, well, I would hope they would be almost as good as the pianos built in Japan.

So, no, I do not recall reading a lot of threads here of people singing the praises of Chinese made pianos, except Norbert and possibly a few others. Maybe I don't pay as much attention to what I read here as I should.

And, as far as Norbert not having any special information, I think he speaks as one having had a lot of experience with pianos, Chinese, German and otherwise.

But your point is well taken.

Rick
Apparently the Chinese pianos have had a very steep improvement curve, so 5+ years ago many were probably correctly saying they weren't so good. Since Norbert repeats himself over and over and most dealers don't post on PW or only occasionally post on PW, it may give some the impression that Norbert has some knowledge other dealers don't have, but I certainly don't think that's true. There are plenty of dealers that have had extensive experience with all kinds of pianos.


Still, it's fair to say he knows a lot more about it than you or I - and most of the members here on PW. So the fact that he informs us of these things here on the forum should be acknowledged as useful. It's information we are interested in. Why do you have to be the forum grinch and talk about other (unnamed) people who also know this information? You want to give credit to all the people who know this stuff but don't participate in our forum? What's the point in that? May as well give credit to a guy who does.

Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2533399 04/24/16 12:24 AM
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Quote
it may give some the impression that Norbert has some knowledge other dealers don't have, but I certainly don't think that's true.


In the real world it's not a matter of "knowledge" but choosing those makes that are simply selling best for one's business.

That's a profound difference.

Lets not forget, it's mostly "all business" out there.

On the other hand, it's amazing what is being said among manufacturers and some big brand dealers privately these days. Either when visiting them, meeting them at trade fairs or when visiting Chinese factories - together.

And also never underestimate the always present [and often amazingly accurate..] rumor mill. grin

The stuff few here would like to hear, let alone "believe"...

So no, the "knowledge" is absolutely not all mine.
Never has been - never will.

Norbert f

Last edited by Norbert; 04/24/16 12:35 AM.

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Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2535382 04/30/16 05:27 AM
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Here is the label on my piano:
[Linked Image]

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: China's creeping takeover of the German piano industry [Re: Dscally] #2535383 04/30/16 05:28 AM
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Look, if you want to prove a point, just post anonymous recordings of Chinese, Japanese, American and European pianos and let users rank their sound by preference.

Then we will see if China is 'taking over' the piano industry.


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