We get this question all the time and it always reminds us how small of a market the USA really is. I once heard a statistic that 80% of the pianos being made today are sold in Asia. That is a huge number! These days about 80% of the pianos made are made in China. This number has grown tremendously over the last 20 years as most manufacturers are moving their plants there to cut labor costs and to take advantage of a workforce with years of experience in piano manufacturing. This has lowered the price of pianos and has allowed families on a budget to afford very fine, new instruments.
Chinese pianos represent the next generation of accessible, high quality instruments. Before the Reagan era, most affordable pianos manufactured in the United States were of questionable quality. Many of these instruments featured specifications less than average, which resulted in poor sales when the Japanese instruments began entering the American market.
Today, many Chinese pianos have attained the same level of quality as Japanese pianos, such as Hailun and Weber. Hailun pianos are designed by an international team of piano experts, such as Stephen Paulello, Ema Shigeru, and Frank Emerson. They feature mostly German parts and have a tone that is better than many Japanese and Korean pianos. Plus, these instruments cost a third of the price of comparable Kawai or Yamaha Japanese pianos. Unlike Haliun, the two Japanese giants make all their parts in house, and therefore do not have the same European quality as Hailun.
Most of the bad reputation surrounding Chinese pianos comes from instruments that originate in government factories. Hailun Chen owns and operates Haliun pianos, and Young Chang (Korean) builds Weber pianos in their own Chinese factory. Both our Weber and Hailun pianos meet different budget needs beautifully and perform significantly better than government-owned Chinese pianos.
In short, some chinese pianos are junk and some older American pianos are junk. The Chinese workforce has spent decades trying to perfect piano manufacturing and the new pianos coming out of Hailun and Young Chang/Weber are truly stunning instruments. Just sit down and play one and you will see they are a dramatic step above their competitors such as Pearl River and Dong Bei pianos (Hallet Davis, Nordiska, etc). They even blow some of the Yamaha and Kawais out of the water!
As always, if you have any questions or would like to talk more about our experience with Chinese pianos, please don't hesitate to contact us!