Harman, parent company of 15 brands, including JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson says it plans to invest another $100 million to bolster its manufacturing and research capabilities in the People’s Republic of China. This new plan follows an initial investment phase of $75 million undertaken in 2007-2008 to establish manufacturing and R&D operations in Shanghai, Suzhou, and Shenzhen.
As part of the latest investment plan, Harman will partner with the northern city of Dandong to create two new manufacturing operations with a total joint investment of some $50 million. From its new automotive electronics and audio systems operation in Dandong, Harman will conduct development, engineering, and manufacturing for the world’s leading automakers.
The company serves global automotive brands, including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, FIAT, Ferrari, General Motors, Hyundai, Lexus, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
The second operation will house engineering and manufacturing for audio electronics and loudspeakers sold under a range of Harman’s premium brands in the professional and consumer sectors.
To attract the R&D and manufacturing of Harman’s brands into the region, the City of Dandong will provide various incentives including infrastructure build-up. Harman is currently evaluating potential Chinese companies or test facility acquisitions for the remainder of its planned investment.
“Harman is positioning itself to capture a growing share of China’s continued expansion in automotive, professional and consumer audio products and services,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, the company’s chairman, president, and CEO, who has been active in leveraging opportunities of the China market over the past 20 years. “We are very grateful for the support from the Government of Dandong to help us expand our presence in northern China which enjoys proximity to large domestic markets and extremely competitive cost structures. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship that builds upon our shared goals of economic growth and best-in-class R&D and manufacturing.”
A signing ceremony was held on October 22 to mark completion of the agreement and formally break ground for the new 43,000-square-meter Harman manufacturing facility, which is expected to begin operations by summer 2011.
“Dandong is the perfect place for Harman to invest, given its vision for the future,” said Dai Yu Ling, chief of the Dandong government. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Harman over the longer term, and will be eager to work with them to make Dandong an important site for R&D, manufacturing, sourcing and international export of high-end audio and infotainment products.”
With more than 1,200 employees currently in China, Harman has an established base from which to supply consumers across this rapidly growing economy, which also has become the world’s largest automotive market, the company says.
Harman has a workforce of about 11,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and reported sales of $3.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010.