China's International City | Taixing's Journey to be Musical Instrument Capital

Consumer Discretionary, Industrials Author: EqualOcean News, Yan Huang Editor: Lina Peng Jul 25, 2023 06:09 PM (GMT+8)

China boasts to have many marvelous cities that keep low profiles among the public while holding pivotal shares in related industries and markets. These cities, along with surrounding towns and villages, form clusters centered around a certain industry. Through close collaboration, they have developed into significant forces at home and abroad.


In terms of going global, the efficiency of supply chains is always regarded as the core competitiveness of Chinese brands. Meanwhile, the smooth operation of supply chains behind the big picture lies in the backup of these cities. The series "China's international city"  will uncover the veil of the grand narrative of globalization and focus on the capillary-like cities of the manufacturing powerhouse, vividly showcasing the difficulties and changes in China's supply chain. This issue will focus on Taixing, Jiangsu province.

Speaking of the Western musical capitals, we will think of Vienna and Serbia. However, it's less known that China's musical instrument capital is located in an inconspicuous town in Taixing, Jiangsu Province -- Huangqiao Town. Statistics have shown that China's production of pianos, wind instruments, violins, percussion instruments, guitars, electro-acoustic instruments, etc. accounted for 50-70% of the world's production. Huangqiao Town is known as the Eastern Cremona and China's town of violin, and is one of the main musical instrument export bases in China, with more than 700,000 violins exported to nearly 90 countries and regions around the world every year, accounting for 70% of China's production and 30% of the world's production.

From batch production to high-end customization, nowadays, Huangqiao has more than 220 enterprises in musical instruments and production, with an annual output value of more than CNY 1 billion, and the musical instrument industry has already become a lucrative industry here. In 2022, Fengling(凤灵乐器), Xinyuan(鑫源乐器), Baoyun(宝韵乐器), GaoShiJia(高斯佳乐器箱包), Huage (华歌乐器), QinHai(琴海乐器), Finuo(菲诺乐器)and other 7 enterprises in Huangqiao Town, participated in the largest and longest international music industry event NAMM SHOW in the United States, through the offline exhibition and the product covers up to more than 200 models the violin, guitar, wind instruments, etc.

Huangqiao Town is an old revolutionary site where the Battle of Huangqiao happened. 60 years ago, the first batch of violin craftsmen in Huangqiao Town stepped into the violin factory. Over the past few decades, through technical research, Huangqiao Town not only seizes the domestic share of the violin but also competes with Germany, and France to win over the global market.

From Ancient Commercial Town to Musical Instrument Capital

Bordering Jingjiang in the south, Rugao in the east, and Jiangyan in the north, the favorable geographical position makes Huangqiao the gateway to the south of Jiangsu from central and northern Jiangsu. During the Tang Dynasty, Huangqiao was a commercial town. In modern times, Huangqiao pancakes and the memories of the Battle of Huangqiao together are left behind. The rich material and historical trade civilization have laid the foundation for the prosperity of the latter violin industry.

In the 1960s, five craftsmen from Shanghai Violin Factory and a musician came to Huangqiao and set up a musical instrument workshop, producing cheap headstocks and bowstocks for Shanghai Violin Factory. These skilled craftsmen, with their apprentices, made the first batch of local violins branded as Xiangyang violins and insisted on making violins in the hard and simple Xiqiao Musical Instrument Factory. 1984, they finally took the joint venture agreement of Shanghai Violin Factory, and the Xiqiao Musical Instrument Factory became the Shanghai Violin Factory Taixing Branch.

Under the high-speed economic development, the violin factory took more and more orders. In 1995, Huangqiao this small violin factory independently made more than 60,000 violins, and at once exceeded the brands in Shanghai, and Guangzhou, became the first in China. The income and prospects from selling violins and parts were so impressive that many farmers who knew nothing about music began to turn to apprenticeships. Huangqiao people took the approach of relying on craftsmanship and patience, breaking down each link of violin making into an ultra-detailed production line, selling at a small profit. The violin gradually changed the economic structure of this area.

In the 1990s, the demand for violins at home and abroad grew. Huangqiao seized the market for beginner learners with the low-cost model of an aggregated industrial chain and also took advantage of the convenience of transport and foreign trade to sell a large number of violins overseas. In 2007, Huangqiao Town's violin industry was reported by the Los Angeles Times - "Thanks to its assembly-line production and with assembly-line production and skilled workers, Fengling is able to sell its products for less than USD 25. ...... They have squeezed Germany and France out of the low-priced violin market."

Under the booming industry, Huangqiao Town has kept pace with the times and solved the problems arising from the development. Many small and medium-sized enterprises adopted traditional or semi-automatic spray paint, that caused environmental pollution. In order to solve this problem, Huangqiao Town began to promote the environmental protection project to tackle the problem. After the completion of the project, the enterprises will be centralized grinding and painting, which also helps small and medium-sized enterprises and the violin industry transform into high-end, intelligent, green transformation.

Huangqiao Town is also working hard on the integration of production and culture. There are more than 230 violin-making-related enterprises throughout the town, and more than 30,000 people are engaged in the violin-making industry. Learning musical instruments and music has been integrated into the lives of local people, and almost all local children can experience introductory violin lessons at school, cultivating musical literacy and temperament from an early age. Since 2017, Huangqiao has been the main venue of International Musical Instrument Performance Day for six consecutive years in China, and it is the cooperative town with the longest history, the grandest performance lineup, and the most publicized in the international arena, and Huangqiao, which used to be buried in violin-making, has also become the well-known musical instrument capital.

Make the Fine Chemical Industry Top in China

The change from an ordinary town to the musical capital of Huangqiao town is just the epitome of Taixing to promote high-quality development. Located in the middle of Jiangsu Province, relying on the golden waterway of the Yangtze River, Taixing has been ranked into the first 20th among the 2022 national county economy basic competitiveness of the top 100 counties (cities).

In addition to violin making, Taixing also boasts to be the top "fine chemical industry", creating one of the earliest professional fine chemical parks in China --the Taixing Economic Development Zone. The park has 90 professional chemical enterprises, including 18 of the world's top 500 companies. Relying on leading enterprises such as SP Chemicals(新浦化学), Jumpcan Pharmaceutical(济川药业),  UPC Technology(联成化学), Arkema(阿科玛), HSC(长园华盛), etc., the park has formed a relatively complete industrial chain and characteristic industrial clusters.

By adhering to the principle of high-end, refined, recycling, green, and internationalization, and accelerating the construction of modern industrial parks, the development quality and efficiency of the chemical industry in Taixing has been continuously improved, and Taixing Economic Development Zone has been awarded as "National Demonstration Base for New Industrialisation Industry", "National Green Park", "National Recycling Transformation Park", currently ranked No. 6 in the country's 601 chemical parks.

At the same time, Taixing is focusing on the biopharmaceutical industry, to create an integrated development model from APIs to preparations. A total investment of CNY 5.5 billion in Hequan new drug R & D center and production base phase II project is a major project to start in 2023, by the largest domestic and global pharmaceutical R & D, production services enterprises, The landing of the project will promote the biopharmaceutical industry in the upstream and downstream integration.

The country and the people are at peace, and all industries are thriving. The ancient city of Taixing will lead the Chinese-style modernization path featured as characteristic industries and high-quality development.

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