SHANGHAI, China – HARMAN, the global leader in premium audio and infotainment (NYSE: HAR), announced continued progress in its latest $100 million investment phase in the People’s Republic of China, with the formation of the legal entity to support HARMAN’s expansion into the northeastern city of Dandong. This follows an initial investment phase of $75 million in 2007-2008 to establish manufacturing and R&D centers in China.
Dandong, located in the Liaoning Province, will be the home to HARMAN’s latest manufacturing and research center. The custom-built, 43,000 square meter facility will be HARMAN’s most technologically advanced, featuring dual operations for both automotive electronics and professional audio systems. Construction began in October 2010, marked by a special groundbreaking ceremony with officials from the Dandong Government. The facility is expected to come on-line in July 2011, and an advanced training center has already been established to ensure employees are fully trained in time for the plant opening.
“Through strategic planning and focused efforts, HARMAN is making tremendous gains in China toward our growth and global footprint goals,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, the Company’s Chairman, President and CEO. “With continued support from the Government of Dandong, we are making rapid progress toward the launch of a new northern base for our Chinese operations, and a new global hub that will help supply premium audio and electronics to China and the world.”
From the new Dandong tech facility, HARMAN will conduct development, engineering, and manufacturing to meet the growing demand for advanced audio and infotainment solutions, particularly for China, which has become the world’s largest automotive market. 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 in Dandong will house engineering for audio electronics and loudspeakers sold under a range of HARMAN’s premium brands in the Professional and Consumer sectors.
With 1200 current employees across its Chinese operations, the Dandong facility will double the size of our employee footprint to more than 2500 employees by the time the technology center comes online. The Company also operates its flagship HARMAN retail showroom in Shanghai’s Sinan Mansions development. The Company’s $100 million investment plan follows its successful participation as technology supplier and an official sponsor to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and similar landmark audio installations at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 China National Day Celebrations.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 11,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.5 billion for the twelve months ended September 30, 2010. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.