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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
My $.02 on this. Extreme poverty still touches everyone in China, even though over 300 million have been lifted out of poverty into the middle class in the last 15-20 years. That still leaves more than double the population of the United States living in various states of poverty in China, much of it extreme. Therefore, the average Chinese can be very shortsighted and seemingly unconcerned with the adverse long-term effect of ill-gotten, short term gain. Faced with an extreme lack of resources and options, one must be creative. Knowing this reality, the Chinese government often turns a blind eye, and even helps its citizenry to overcome economic hurdles by whatever means necessary. They know theft is bad, but it’s better than poverty.

As shortsighted as its people may have to be to survive, the Chinese government, believe it or not, is playing the long game. Its early and continuing economic investment in Africa even while China could not feed its own people, building islands in the S. China Sea, investing huge amounts of money into the current 68-country Road and Belt initiative—these are all investments that will not pay off for decades. But that’s the thing: China thinks in decades while we in the West tend to think in years. I think the Chinese government is fully aware of its current bad reputation for cheap knockoffs, intellectual property theft, human rights violations, etc. They know that this is how they’ve been perceived for the last 20 years, and rightfully so. But how about the next 20, or 50, or 75? Does anyone really remember America’s intellectual property theft and human rights violations from the 19th century? Not really. Our collective memories tend to reset after a generation. Therefore, I think the Chinese people, like its government, are doing whatever it can to pull itself up now, and to try to achieve in 50 years what the West achieved for itself in the last 150. The West’s exploits during its economic rise wasn’t always pretty. China’s aren’t going to be either. Sometimes short-term gain is the only way to build the initial rungs of the ladder to long-term economic success.

So what does all this have to do with pianos? I guess my point is that we’re all on a spectrum. Currently, Western and Japanese piano manufacturers have matured into ethical enterprises with good quality control. I don’t know that they have always been that way. If buying Chinese is a problem for some people today, I get it. My prediction, however, is that 25 years from now that will seem as anachronistic as refusing to buy a piano because it was made in Germany or Japan.

All this being said, I have yet to try my first Chinese piano. Anybody have an extra Baldwin BP190 sitting around?

I agree with this - it is absolutely amazing that China has pulled 300 million people out of poverty in such a short amount of time. I helped start a tech company in China 8 years ago, and up until January, I traveled to the factory every month. We started with 4 engineers, none of which owned a car or knew how to drive. Two years later, all of the engineers had cars and drove, and now common factory workers carpool to work. We in the West can talk about how bad the Chinese government is because of this or that, but I've seen how the conditions there have changed to benefit the people as a whole. I'm not condoning some of the things that go on in China, but from my experience over the past decade, I can see both perspectives (Western and Chinese) now.

One thing to note is that Chinese product quality has evolved. A decade ago, there were two distinct supply chains and quality systems - Chinese and non-Chinese. Superior products (like foreign cars and iphones) came out of Western managed systems (yet manufactured in China), and subpar quality came out of local Chinese brands. But this has started to converge over the past 4-5 years. China now has consumer electronics brands like Xiaomi, TCL that are competing on the world stage in terms of quality and price now. This is happening in the piano industry, and I think the biggest hurdle for Chinese piano manufacturers now is to overcome the worldwide perception of poor quality. And it doesn't help that there are still crappy piano brands being built there too.

It's kind of ironic for me because last year I bought a rebuilt Mason & Hamlin (that absolutely love). After a long search, I realized that I wanted the American sound, but didn't want a Steinway. Most of the better Chinese made pianos (as I understand (?)) have a more European tone. Now M&H is making pianos in China, which probably are more American-like. Ugh. I'll just claim that my Boston made, golden age Model A is superior. But is it?


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Originally Posted by Dore
It's kind of ironic for me because last year I bought a rebuilt Mason & Hamlin (that absolutely love). After a long search, I realized that I wanted the American sound, but didn't want a Steinway. Most of the better Chinese made pianos (as I understand (?)) have a more European tone. Now M&H is making pianos in China, which probably are more American-like. Ugh. I'll just claim that my Boston made, golden age Model A is superior. But is it?
I have no doubt it is. smile


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After the recent news coming from EU and USA governing circles on who is to blame, the decision whether to buy something from PRC might not be optional for individuals.

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Well, I am very curious about the Yangtze River Concert Grand. Has anyone here played it?


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Originally Posted by Fluxo
Well, I am very curious about the Yangtze River Concert Grand. Has anyone here played it?


If I remember correctly you can listen to it on the recent Tchaikovsky competition if it is still available for on demand listening.

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Thanks Hakki.

Actually, not from the T Competition but from the very Yangtze River Competition (2017) I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTM4qd_A1_U

How do you like it?


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Here from the Tchaikovsky competition.

https://tch16.medici.tv/en/replay/#filter?slug=semi-final-with-an-tianxu

Frankly I find it a bit strident.

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I believe what has not been addressed in this thread is something I'd like to throw in to give it a little more perspective to differentiating.

The Hailun factory first of all is a manufacturing place and as such it does its job. In addition to producing its own brand and stencils, it also serves as a manufacturing site for designs that are not Chinese. I know that today's Feurich uprights and grands are manufactured in the Hailun factory, but some of them (such as the 218 grand) have been designed by Stephen Paulello and their final voicing, regulation and tuning is done here in Vienna. The voicing expert is someone with decades of experience, including working for Bechstein.

The creative value actually comes from Europe and China is just an inexpensive and experienced manufacturing place, just as in the electronics industry. Feurich as a company is registered in Austria and pays its taxes here and manufacturing in China is just a number for the cost of doing business. When design, Q&A and finishing touches are done in Europe, I am inclined to consider it a European product in terms of value created.

Just compare it to Apple. Manufacturing is done in China by third party producers, but hardware design and software development is American. I am confident that half of you or more own iPhones (I don't) and certainly consider it an American product. And just as there are cheap knock-offs from iPhones built in China, the real deal is something else and as such we should differentiate between pure manufacturing and actual value creation.

Disclaimer: I know the Feurich people in Vienna very well, but I don't have a working business relationship with them as piano makers and don't act as their internet marketing guy. I just recognize a good piano when I play one.

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I for one do not consider Apple products to be American; they are not made in the USA, no matter who designs them. Actually, I have never thought about Apple products that way at all. And given that there are no electronics being made in the USA any more, anyone trying to avoid electronics made outside the USA will be out of luck.

There have been many threads, most of them contentious, on the related subject of whether a piano, like a Feurich (or Steinway) piano, that is made in China (or elsewhere, or with parts from elsewhere) is an Austrian (or American) piano or not. In my view, the Feurich as you describe it is not an Austrian piano. It may be an Austrian-designed piano made in China, but it is not an Austrian piano. If it is made in Austria, it is an Austrian piano.

This highlights some of the perils of classifying anything as made in a specific country; the parts may be from one country, partial assembly in another, final finishing in a third. In a global economy, it is almost impossible to have any complicated product that is made in a single place.

Incidentally, any benefits to the local economy from having a piano factory accrue to the country that contains the factory. As you point out, Feurich pays taxes in Austria. But the money that flows into the local economy of the country with the factory does not benefit Austria, at least not directly.

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From a consumer’s POV, it doesn’t matter where something is made.
What matters is the finished product.


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
From a consumer’s POV, it doesn’t matter where something is made.
What matters is the finished product.

Of course it matters! Try selling a used Chinese-made piano and see how that goes. Location of manufacture contributes to many things, including reputation and prestige, which contributes to $$$, even if these are only perceptions.

I went into a music shop looking for a particular model of a Yamaha saxophone. I pick it up, and examine it. The sales rep comes over and says, “Oh, if you’re going to buy a Yamaha, you should really try to go for the next model up. That one is actually made in Japan.” Without hesitation, I say, “Oh, is that right?” I go put down that model I was examining and pick up the next model up. Hahaha.

Of course it matters where things are made. It even matters to the Chinese. Why do you think Canada Goose became a public company? It’s because their coats are “Made in Canada” and the Chinese population loved them so much and bought so many that they had to raise capital to expand big time. It’s not that China can’t make parkas.

Canadian vitamins are apparently very popular with the Chinese. They ask their Canadian friends to ship them back to them because they cannot buy them in China. Does it matter to them that almost all source vitamins are actually produced in China and then “manufactured” in Canada? No. They just want the “Made in Canada” label on it.


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All those other factors get priced in. If you’re worried about resale and loss, then you can probably lose more on a non-Chinese piano than you’ll spend in total on a Chinese piano. It’s all priced in.


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
All those other factors get priced in. If you’re worried about resale and loss, then you can probably lose more on a non-Chinese piano than you’ll spend in total on a Chinese piano. It’s all priced in.

I’m not arguing that you can’t get a lot of value from a Chinese piano. I believe you do. I’m just saying place of manufacture matters a lot to the whole package.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 04/26/20 06:37 PM.

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
All those other factors get priced in. If you’re worried about resale and loss, then you can probably lose more on a non-Chinese piano than you’ll spend in total on a Chinese piano. It’s all priced in.

I’m not arguing that you can’t get a lot of value from a Chinese piano. I believe you do. I’m just saying place of manufacture matters a lot to the whole package.


The fact that iPhones are manufactured in China does not seem to have affected their value or reputation.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
All those other factors get priced in. If you’re worried about resale and loss, then you can probably lose more on a non-Chinese piano than you’ll spend in total on a Chinese piano. It’s all priced in.

I’m not arguing that you can’t get a lot of value from a Chinese piano. I believe you do. I’m just saying place of manufacture matters a lot to the whole package.


The fact that iPhones are manufactured in China does not seem to have affected their value or reputation.

You’re right, but iPhones are in a different category. A category where almost everything is made in China. You simply don’t have a choice. So the public has accepted that.

But clothing, pianos, other instruments, cars, foodstuffs, etc. haven’t generally overcome their long-established poor image yet.

I have (and have had) many apple products and I’m even typing this reply on my iPad while my husband is watching YouTube on his iPhone. I’m not against Chinese products, but you can’t convince me that in certain categories, Chinese product image is just not there yet. I STILL try my hardest not to buy Chinese food products and we all know why that is.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 04/26/20 06:59 PM.

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If you could have any piano you wanted, but only one, for the same price -- or even for free -- and the same amount of effort was putting into prepping them all, wouldn't you pick the piano you liked best? Or would you be swayed by distractions like where it's made? Historically there's been a correlation between place of manufacture and perceived quality, but that gap is closing. It certainly has in Japan. Right?

What if the pianos you had to choose from were generic, had no markings? You might be surprised what you end up selecting.


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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m not against Chinese products, but you can’t convince me that in certain categories, Chinese product image is just not there yet.

Sorry, the time expired to correct the above statement that I wrote. I meant to say:

I’m not against all Chinese products but in certain categories, the Chinese product image is just not there yet.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 04/26/20 07:10 PM.

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
If you could have any piano you wanted, but only one, for the same price -- or even for free -- and the same amount of effort was putting into prepping them all, wouldn't you pick the piano you liked best? Or would you be swayed by distractions like where it's made? Historically there's been a correlation between place of manufacture and perceived quality, but that gap is closing. It certainly has in Japan. Right?

What if the pianos you had to choose from were generic, had no markings? You might be surprised what you end up selecting.

Yes, I understand that products made in Japan used to have a poor image just like Korean cars did at some point. But I’m not old enough to remember crappy Japanese-made stuff. grin In my mind, Japanese-made products will always be the bee’s knees, although a lot of Korean products are overtaking the Japanese right now (i.e., cosmetics, electronics, pop stars!). Ok, getting off topic there.

If I loved 2 equivalent pianos (equivalent in all respects), and one was Chinese-made, and the other Japanese, I would pay more money to buy the Japanese piano.

Obviously, if I didn’t know one was Chinese and the other was Japanese, I’d choose the piano I liked best, but I don’t ever want to find out it was Chinese-made! As I said before, I know there are good quality Chinese pianos at good prices. I just don’t want one unless I have no choice (my finances can only afford Chinese, for example).

Oh, one more thing, I’m still on my first piano. I’m looking forward to upgrading. I will want something that I can sell easily with a good price. Japanese pianos have high resale value.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 04/26/20 07:29 PM.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I believe what has not been addressed in this thread is something I'd like to throw in to give it a little more perspective to differentiating.

The Hailun factory first of all is a manufacturing place and as such it does its job. In addition to producing its own brand and stencils, it also serves as a manufacturing site for designs that are not Chinese. I know that today's Feurich uprights and grands are manufactured in the Hailun factory, but some of them (such as the 218 grand) have been designed by Stephen Paulello and their final voicing, regulation and tuning is done here in Vienna. The voicing expert is someone with decades of experience, including working for Bechstein.

The creative value actually comes from Europe and China is just an inexpensive and experienced manufacturing place, just as in the electronics industry. Feurich as a company is registered in Austria and pays its taxes here and manufacturing in China is just a number for the cost of doing business. When design, Q&A and finishing touches are done in Europe, I am inclined to consider it a European product in terms of value created.

Just compare it to Apple. Manufacturing is done in China by third party producers, but hardware design and software development is American. I am confident that half of you or more own iPhones (I don't) and certainly consider it an American product. And just as there are cheap knock-offs from iPhones built in China, the real deal is something else and as such we should differentiate between pure manufacturing and actual value creation.

Disclaimer: I know the Feurich people in Vienna very well, but I don't have a working business relationship with them as piano makers and don't act as their internet marketing guy. I just recognize a good piano when I play one.
So are Zimmerman pianos Chinese or German ?
Also do the CBECHSTEIN Academy uprights or grands
have parts from China ?
I am just asking because I am interested.
To me they seem more European than anything else.

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What a load of bollocks. It's like people attired in evening gowns and tuxedos, playing musical chairs on the aft deck of the Titanic. Let's consider a few things...

1. The acoustic piano is fast becoming a boutique item, played by few and sought after by even less. Everyday people do not buy $20,000 verticals and $50,000 grands. So if you want the acoustic piano to survive in any numbers at all, you better provide a decent piano at a price point Joe Public can afford and I don't care if it's built by demons working under supervision by Satan.

2. An expensive gun does not automatically make one a better hunter, just as an expensive car does not necessarily make one a better driver...They're nice to have, but for the average person an item with less performance will do just fine. Same thing for pianos. I've even known some folks who have made their living for many years behind 88 keys and what they play at home just might shock you.

3. How many Chinese pianos have you played? The wife and I have been through a bunch of them by now. For the money spent, some of them have been pretty good. Some have been better than that. My Perzina punches above its weight pretty well.

Bottom line...For a decent piano at an affordable price, the Chinese piano is currently the best option for the average pkayer, especially if the buyer will spend a little money and have a good tech spend a little time tweaking the instrument. So, yes, buy the Chinese piano. Who knows, maybe we'll be having this same discussion about pianos built in Kazakhstan in 25 years...


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