China's automobile expansion favorable to Harman

Updated: 2012-04-26 11:09

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)

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China will be the largest market for premium audio and infotainment group Harman International Industries Inc by 2015, said the company's head, due to global automakers' expanded business in the world's top vehicle market, and Chinese car manufacturers aiming to tap into the high-end market.

"Only five years here in China, our business has grown from zero to $260 million last year, and we target to have $350 million revenue for this year," said Dinesh Paliwal, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the US company.

"Seeing the potential of China's robust automobile industry, we expect our annual sales in China to surge to $1 billion by 2015, when China will be our largest market in the world," said Paliwal.

"Till then, China will contribute at least 20 percent of our global business, and we also aim to grab 30 percent of the market share in China's auto industry."

According to Paliwal, China is the most important market for Harman, which designs and manufactures audio and infotainment products for vehicles, homes, theaters and venues, as well as electronics for audio professionals.

"As a company with 75 percent revenue from the automobile sector, the still-growing industry will definitely boost our business, especially with increasing demand for high-end vehicles," said Paliwal.

He said that the recent local production expansion of Harman's global customers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury brands, has greatly helped Harman, which serves 80 percent of the world's luxury vehicles, to get established in the local market.

"And now, we see more potential from the rising Chinese domestic automakers, who are ambitious to compete with global rivals with upgraded products," said Paliwal.

The group announced at the ongoing Beijing auto show that it has finalized agreements with three leading domestic automakers in China and India to feature the company's branded audio and infotainment systems. The combined business, awarded by Geely Motors and BAIC Motors of China and Tata Motors of India, represents a record total of more than $500 million.

"Chinese customers are increasingly becoming more discerning and demand the latest in technology. With our global reach, systems and connectivity expertise, and our unparalleled innovation, we will create a cutting edge audio and infotainment experience for every passenger. It's win-win for both Harman and Chinese automakers," said Paliwal.

Geely Motors, a leading Chinese automaker and parent company of Volvo Cars, has selected Harman to develop an audio and infotainment system for its upcoming luxury sedan, and an infotainment platform for its new mid-sized luxury sport utility vehicles.

China's BAIC Motors has also tapped Harman to provide its premium JBL branded audio system and infotainment solution for a new full-sized luxury sedan debuting in 2013.