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September 30, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

Harman banking on local parts

HARMAN International Industries Inc, a leading global supplier of audio and entertainment equipment, said it expects its revenue in China to more than triple to US$1 billion in the next five years as it accelerates its use of locally made parts to compete with Continental AG and Bosch Group.

The supplier of premium audio products, marketed under the JBL, Harman Kardon and Infinity brands, reported a 30-percent global sales drop last year as the global financial crisis bit into vehicle production, hurting its biggest business division.

But Jin Dingyi, president and manager for China and Northeast Asia, said China offers broad opportunities for future market growth. "In addition to China's rapidly expanding auto industry, the desire of more Chinese car makers to expand abroad also offers us great potential," Jin said.

Harman has set up two plants in Suzhou and Shenzhen since it first entered China in 1998. To keep up with rising demand, the company said it also plans to triple its workforce in China to 3,000 people within five years.

The US-based company yesterday opened its Northeast Asia and China headquarters in Shanghai, where it also launched its fifth research and development center. It is aiming to attract more local clients, such as domestic auto makers Geely and Chery.

Also in Shanghai yesterday, the company unveiled its latest generation of automotive infotainment systems, which integrate navigation, information and multimedia functions.

The new system will be made in China. Dinesh Paliwal, chairman and chief executive officer of Harman, said its advanced features give the company an edge against its competitors.

"We want to grow all our business divisions in China," said Paliwal. "China will play an increasing role in our growth in the future."

Last year, China generated US$300 million in revenue for Harman, accounting for 5 percent of its global sales. The company said it expects China's proportion of total sales to rise to 25 percent by 2013.


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