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Chinese Made - my experience

Posted By: Tommy Doyle

Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 10:12 AM

Hi. I live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the choice of pianos here isn't fantastic. Yamaha and Kawai are of course omni-present. Steinway are here but unfortunately totally out of my price range just now. I came across a shop in town that specialises in Petrof and their own 'brand' of pianos made by Hailun in China (the piano is called Wagner). I wanted a 'baby-ish' grand - living in a condo anything overly large would just be overpowering from the sound point of view. Bought it over a year ago and so far I'm loving it. For a good 15% less than the price of the entry level Yamaha (which is I think 149cm) I got a 180cm Grand. The actual feel (and I mean the tactile sensation of the materials) is streets ahead (I felt the smallest Yamaha the keys really felt quite plasticky).

Does anyone else have views on Chinese pianos?
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 11:39 AM

As long as YOU enjoy your piano, that is ALL that matters. Enjoy it!
Posted By: malkin

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 01:32 PM

I have heard lots of nice things about Hailun pianos. It's good to hear that you like yours!
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 02:13 PM

I don't think you can generalise about Chinese pianos. Some of them aren't great, but Hailun make some really nice ones.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 07:48 PM


I am glad you have found your piano .I have never played a Hailun grand .A friend of mine bought a Hailun upright which is quite good .
Out of many of these pianos Hailun does stand out especially lately
Congratulations on your new grand piano .You should post a picture for us to see .
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 08:30 PM

Quote
I don't think you can generalise about Chinese pianos. Some of them aren't great, but Hailun make some really nice ones.


It's been a long known fact that several Chinese have raised by their level by now to previously not admitted, undeniably respectable levels. While many here tried to deny this accusing me and others with "hype about our own brands", it has meantime significantly changed the landscape out there.

For one, it represents a missed opportunity by others to create a serious counterbalance with new competitive edge on market for themselves. That opportunity came and has gone for long time. The verdict is in by now and IMHO too late to do anything about it. Chinese pianos have arrived. It's also the Chinese and not so much our own market that matters in these times.

As the above shows, many European/German manufacturers are now manufacturing in China themselves although few of them are transparent what and where. They like to secure the large Chinese market for themselves and and future employment for their highly trained workforce. The genie is out of the bag and won't be forced back anytime soon.

Do you have to like it? No, but the only way out is to spend more for perhaps mostly patriotic reasons.

Play all pianos out there and see what and which one you like. Don't be confused if a cheaper piano should be more to your liking than some other, more expensive ones. This is the way the market has been going for a while though nobody wanted to believe it.

Take advantage of it.

Norbert

Posted By: Steve Cohen

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/05/18 09:28 PM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
As long as YOU enjoy your piano, that is ALL that matters. Enjoy it!


It isn't that simple....

Not only should you enjoy your piano, but also it should be constructed well enough to provide many, many years of that enjoyment.

The others who have posted here are correct in that you cannot generalize about Chinese-made pianos. Some are quite competitive with Yamaha and Kawai, while others are not.

One of the challenges Larry and the rest of the staff of PianoBuyer struggle with this with every issue.
Posted By: gskmeva123

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/07/18 02:10 AM

Great to hear that you're loving your piano. Of course, many of us on the forum would die for a Steinway D, Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha CFX, Shigeru Kawai EX etc., but we aren't making millions, right? Also, many of us probably wouldn't have the technical skills to bring out the true performance of these high quality concert pianos. Though I will say, I once played on a beautiful Steinway Model C and somehow, my playing got magically better and my hands were playing pieces that I've long forgotten. It was like my muscle memory just turned on. The action was so beautiful and the sound was so musical at its purest form. So yeah, having an expensive piano can make you a better performer. Anyway, I digress.

As for Chinese pianos, a lot of them aren't great but there many quality budget pianos available. It's all about quality control and having the right manufacturing processes and materials. Could a Steinway D that was made in China have the same quality as the model made in NY or Hamburg? Certainly it is possible but it wouldn't be practical. There wouldn't be too much of a price difference in the end and people would rather choose the model made in NY and Hamburg instead.

As much as the Western media likes to attack on China for low quality Walmart products, "Made/Assembled in China" will continue to improve, just as in the case with Japanese quality. 60 years ago, "Made in Japan" was junk. But soon after, the Japanese companies realized that they didn't want to make low quality products forever. So they continue to learn and improve their quality. The same is happening in China right now.

Though I will say, Chinese cheap labor that was dominant in the 80s and 90s is becoming a thing of the past. People's wages and expectations for a higher quality life are increasing. Soon in the next few decades or so, we will start seeing piano companies moving their productions to other countries.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/07/18 11:53 AM

Originally Posted by gskmeva123
Great to hear that you're loving your piano. Of course, many of us on the forum would die for a Steinway D, Bosendorfer Imperial, Yamaha CFX, Shigeru Kawai EX etc., but we aren't making millions, right? Also, many of us probably wouldn't have the technical skills to bring out the true performance of these high quality concert pianos. Though I will say, I once played on a beautiful Steinway Model C and somehow, my playing got magically better and my hands were playing pieces that I've long forgotten. It was like my muscle memory just turned on. The action was so beautiful and the sound was so musical at its purest form. So yeah, having an expensive piano can make you a better performer. Anyway, I digress.

As for Chinese pianos, a lot of them aren't great but there many quality budget pianos available. It's all about quality control and having the right manufacturing processes and materials. Could a Steinway D that was made in China have the same quality as the model made in NY or Hamburg? Certainly it is possible but it wouldn't be practical. There wouldn't be too much of a price difference in the end and people would rather choose the model made in NY and Hamburg instead.

As much as the Western media likes to attack on China for low quality Walmart products, "Made/Assembled in China" will continue to improve, just as in the case with Japanese quality. 60 years ago, "Made in Japan" was junk. But soon after, the Japanese companies realized that they didn't want to make low quality products forever. So they continue to learn and improve their quality. The same is happening in China right now.

Though I will say, Chinese cheap labor that was dominant in the 80s and 90s is becoming a thing of the past. People's wages and expectations for a higher quality life are increasing. Soon in the next few decades or so, we will start seeing piano companies moving their productions to other countries.


I agree. Chinese quality is getting better and better every day. Most people would be shocked how many of their "name brand" products are actually made in China.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/07/18 03:33 PM

Originally Posted by gskmeva123
..., "Made/Assembled in China" will continue to improve, just as in the case with Japanese quality. 60 years ago, "Made in Japan" was junk. .


Yes, post cold war China is well along the same path that post WWII Japan followed:

1. Junk for cheap

2. Good stuff for cheap

3. Good stuff for not so cheap any more.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/08/18 06:58 PM

Originally Posted by John sprung
Yes, post cold war China is well along the same path that post WWII Japan followed:

1. Junk for cheap

2. Good stuff for cheap

3. Good stuff for not so cheap any more.

Never heard it put quite that way, but you are right on par, John.

I have 3 acoustic pianos made in Japan ranging from 1969 to 1978 and the quality and workmanship is excellent. In my view, acoustic pianos made in Japan now are likely worth the price, if you can afford it.

Personally, I would not be afraid to buy a Chinese made piano and give it try. But I'm not in the market to buy a piano at the moment. I already have one in almost every room of my home... smile

Rick
Posted By: Furtwangler

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/08/18 07:27 PM

"I already have one in almost every room of my home...

Rick "

That is ok - when you have a piano in your master bathroom, that is when you will know you may have gone too far.
Posted By: precise

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/08/18 08:47 PM

As Norbert and others have suggested, writing off Chinese-made pianos as junk has been a mistake.

Of course they do make some dodgy instruments - but so do many old and 'respected' brands. Conversely, there is immense innovation, financial back-up, ambition and work ethos in China, so it makes sense that they can, and do, make some very respectable instruments. For their prices, the Chinese pianos I've seen have been extremely impressive. Not necessarily what I'd personally choose, but there's no mistaking their quality and bang for buck.

I wonder, though, how many of their pianos will hold up over time? I don't know enough about them to be able to even speculate -but others here certainly do. I'd love to know what you guys think.
Posted By: joe80

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/09/18 11:06 PM

I know of a wendl und lung grand piano that's about 15 years old and still going strong, and that's a hailun piano.

Chances are your piano is great and meets your needs perfectly.

The good Chinese pianos are decent instruments period, and the bad ones are terrible. As Nick says.... mistakes have been made in even the most highly respected German factories...
Posted By: Steve Jackson

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/11/18 12:06 PM

I might add, that grading any piano by country of origin is foolish and only serves to confirm ones bias.

Country branding as origin of construction, as in Made in Chelm by the Wise Men, or whatever country of origin does not mean that the object was actually made in that country. Each jurisdiction have their own rules for what country of origin means, and in countries where there is high value in promoting it as country as origin, the manufacturers place extreme pressure on regulators.

As such, there can be scenarios where a piano, 90% made in China can proudly say, "Made In Big Expensive Prestigious Country" as the accounting rules in Big Expensive country allow for many allowances of costs.

As such, almost every piano today is of high Chinese content.

Quality comes from good design, materials and execution. The real measure is the passion of the owners and why we revere the old pianos where the owner was also involved personally whereas today, it's a business making widgets, some better than others.

Judge each piano by the passion it evokes in you, the true enthusiasm of the representatives and forget the country.

I see some Russian made pianos where the name is ground off and a German name placed on instead, sold for the price of Japanese pianos. That's what happens if you judge country of origin, not the piano

Steve
Posted By: j&j

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/13/18 06:30 PM

@Steve Jackson- very perceptive! We humans want to put things in neat little boxes when we have so many choices we’re stuck in analysis paralysis. Perhaps piano makers should start listing country of origin %’s like they do on new cars and trucks in the States. If that happened, it sure would be Eye-opening to say the least 😎.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/14/18 04:06 AM

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
I might add, that grading any piano by country of origin is foolish and only serves to confirm ones bias.

Country branding as origin of construction, as in Made in Chelm by the Wise Men, or whatever country of origin does not mean that the object was actually made in that country. Each jurisdiction have their own rules for what country of origin means, and in countries where there is high value in promoting it as country as origin, the manufacturers place extreme pressure on regulators.

As such, there can be scenarios where a piano, 90% made in China can proudly say, "Made In Big Expensive Prestigious Country" as the accounting rules in Big Expensive country allow for many allowances of costs.

As such, almost every piano today is of high Chinese content.

Quality comes from good design, materials and execution. The real measure is the passion of the owners and why we revere the old pianos where the owner was also involved personally whereas today, it's a business making widgets, some better than others.

Judge each piano by the passion it evokes in you, the true enthusiasm of the representatives and forget the country.

I see some Russian made pianos where the name is ground off and a German name placed on instead, sold for the price of Japanese pianos. That's what happens if you judge country of origin, not the piano

Steve

Germany is still making great pianos and there are some without
Chinese content .Sorry but Germany always has been a great piano making country and still is .The US and Japan are other countries who really know how to make real instruments .
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/14/18 08:14 PM

The ongoing and seemingly everlasting conversion about "China" shows again and again how little we know, let alone "understand" that country. The Chinese are extremely smart and very successful to let us continuously discuss "quality" of their products. Doing that they're successful to distract from what is really going on here. Soon the question will not be if things are "made in China" but if "owned by the Chinese" Something which IMHO had always been much more on their mind than just the "quality aspect" of things made there. So, here we keep dabbling about it but the really important things are happening already outside that question. Next time also ask the question who actually owns or "co-owns" the outfit. Or supplies parts & components to other, more lofty names. You may be just in for a little surprise....
Norbert
Posted By: ahumdrumoflife

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/14/18 08:37 PM

China only make low end products because that is what the market wants. Here in the UK we all want cheap clothing and throwaway tech items.

Remember they are a manufacturing powerhouse that supplies a lot of sophisticated products all around the world.

If there is a will and need to make a higher quality product, it will happen.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/14/18 11:19 PM

Originally Posted by Norbert
The ongoing and seemingly everlasting conversion about "China" shows again and again how little we know, let alone "understand" that country. The Chinese are extremely smart and very successful to let us continuously discuss "quality" of their products. Doing that they're successful to distract from what is really going on here. Soon the question will not be if things are "made in China" but if "owned by the Chinese" Something which IMHO had always been much more on their mind than just the "quality aspect" of things made there. So, here we keep dabbling about it but the really important things are happening already outside that question. Next time also ask the question who actually owns or "co-owns" the outfit. Or supplies parts & components to other, more lofty names. You may be just in for a little surprise....
Norbert


Norbert is correct. Chinese are extremely smart and know what they are doing.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 12:12 AM

Well I have German piano which says 100% made in Germany on the
piano itself .I have an e mail in which the owner of the piano factory has promised that the piano was not strung back in any other place than
Germany .The whole piano was is made in Germany was what he said .
This owner of this piano factory has a good name and is known and
respected here on this forum.
I also have a a long list of components from the dealer of this piano and they are all made in Germany .The soundboard is from the Alps and the action is Renner .
Do I need to worry where the screws are made ?No .
I had to ask detailed questions But am happy in the reply .
Next year this piano manufacturer will have been making pianos for 200 years .
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 01:11 AM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by Norbert
The ongoing and seemingly everlasting conversion about "China" shows again and again how little we know, let alone "understand" that country. The Chinese are extremely smart and very successful to let us continuously discuss "quality" of their products. Doing that they're successful to distract from what is really going on here. Soon the question will not be if things are "made in China" but if "owned by the Chinese" Something which IMHO had always been much more on their mind than just the "quality aspect" of things made there. So, here we keep dabbling about it but the really important things are happening already outside that question. Next time also ask the question who actually owns or "co-owns" the outfit. Or supplies parts & components to other, more lofty names. You may be just in for a little surprise....
Norbert


Norbert is correct. Chinese are extremely smart and know what they are doing.

I agree that Chinese are very smart and yes pianos such Hailun ,Ritmuiler, and Kaiserberg (spelling ?)are successful and are rivals to some Yamaha and Kawai pianos .Its just this implication that China has already swallowed up all German piano manufacturers .It has not completely done this yet .Also there are still German manufacturers who will not try and deceive the buyer .There are still some that you can rely on .
The buyer needs to ask the crucial questions .
I know Norbert from reading Piano World to be knowledgeable and sincere .
Its a pity I did not buy my piano just a few years earlier I could have bought it from him .
Posted By: Mark Polishook

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 01:28 AM

Last May, I had a really interesting tour of the Pearl River piano company’s manufacturing facility in Guangzhou. Later that same day Pearl River graciously lent me a 6’ piano and a fantastic technician for my concert at a university in Guangzhou. PR is innovating in ways that make sense for them and They also makes pianos for at least one very well-known Western piano maker. Maybe the most amazing part of that day was seeing and playing on dozens of meticulously maintained pianos in their factory. That’s illustrates a feat in of itself because humidty levels in Guangzhou are sky-high. Basically, every day, an army of technicians goes through their stock and puts and keeps those pianos in wonderful playable condition.
Posted By: hassan

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 02:42 PM

I have a Chinese made 178 grand made in 2011 and bought in 2015. It has same cast configuration as the same size Hailun and I think it is made by them as they do manufacture for others. It's brand is called Franz Sandner. My experience with it has been very pleasant till now , and when I bought it it was far better, compared side by side, than a 185 v Hoffman and at half if price
Here is a sample of its sound
https://soundcloud.com/mohammed-sobhi-743912604/voice-001
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 05:13 PM

That sounded very nice ,Chopin Nocturne in B flat .You say your
piano does not play as well as it used to ?
Do you keep it well tuned ?Perhaps it just needs regulation or
voicing ? Perhaps someone here will advise . Pianos do change and just need to be adjusted .
Posted By: hassan

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 05:27 PM

I have no complains about my piano. I just wanted to show that a Chinese piano can sound nice and rich.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 08:34 PM

Yes it does have a lovely tone .I only suggested it may need regulation ,because you said it plays very well but not as good
as when you first bought it .
Best wishes to you and your family.
Posted By: hassan

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/15/18 10:07 PM

Sorry I didn't t make my self clear . What I ment is that I compared it with the V 185 Hoffman side by side at time of purchase and it was better regarding action and sound and it is still the same.Thanks for your fast response Lady bird
Posted By: Ken Knapp

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/16/18 02:14 AM

I just spent about a half hour cleaning up this topic to remove some accusations that did not belong here, plus cleaning up other things that would seem out of context with the posts moved to the restricted forum. So if you see something missing, that is why.

Continue with the on-topic discussion, and if anyone wants to make accusations or argue, please take it to private messages OR pick up the phone.

Thank you.
Posted By: Ken Knapp

Re: Chinese Made - my experience - 12/16/18 04:29 AM

When I said I spent a half hour of time I did not have fixing this topic so all traces of the contention vanished, it wasn't so people could resurrect it.
TOPIC CLOSED.
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