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Gibson Acquires Dongbei, Expands China Presence

Gibson Guitar has acquired all of Dongbei Piano Co., a previously state-owned factory in Northern China. Dongbei brand names include Nordiska, August Hoffman and Story & Clark.

Gibson announced it would rename the company Baldwin Dongbei Piano Instrument Co. and that Zhang Daming, general manager of Dongbei Piano, would retain that title with the new company.

Gibson said that the acquisition will help expand its piano business and that the factory will become a major manufacturing base for Gibson products. A report released yesterday by Reuters suggested the deal will also “boost [Gibson’s] brand and sales in the world’s fourth-largest economy [China].”

“We have long believed in the potential of the Chinese market,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar, during a contract-signing ceremony today. “Over the past three years, Baldwin Piano has been a huge success in China and gained much recognition from Chinese customers. Dongbei Piano’s joining enables us to provide more cost-effective and diversified piano models to Chinese customers. We look forward to many new and exciting things for our many loyal Chinese customers.”

Gibson established Baldwin Zhongshan Piano Instrument Co. through acquisition in 2004. It was Gibson’s first manufacturing base in China and mainly produces Baldwin, Hamilton and J&C Fisher’s pianos. Gibson said the acquisition of Dongbei Piano will let it diversify its product range throughout China.

The Reuters report also said Gibson paid several hundred million yuan for the purchase. On today’s markets, $1 U.S. equals about 7.82 yuan.

Dongbei Piano, located in Yingkou City in the Liaoning Province of China, was founded in 1952 when it split from Shanghai Piano Factory, China’s oldest piano manufacturer. The company currently employs more than 2,000 people. With a yearly crop of 30,000 upright pianos and 10,000 grand pianos, it has called itself the third largest producer in China.

“We are very happy to welcome Dongbei Piano into the Gibson Family,” said Dave Berryman, president of Gibson Guitar. “Gibson will fully bolster Dongbei Piano’s development by introducing advanced manufacturing and marketing concepts to upgrade its competitiveness in global markets.”;