Business / Industries

Once again a high-volume business

By Wang Chao (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2015-06-19 06:55

As China's middle class grows, the demand for Hi-Fi equipment hits new highs

Watching a live concert may no longer be considered a luxury, but sitting in your living room and enjoying concert-quality sound is, as high-fidelity speakers can cost a fortune.

Yet despite the price, sales of hi-fi audio products and home entertainment systems are growing rapidly in China, according to a report by CIConsulting, a Shenzhen industry research institution.

Once again a high-volume business

A KEF technician tests a hi-fi speaker. The company devotes a lot of time to studying trends in interior design. Photos provided to China Daily

The estimated market value for home audio equipment is about 150 billion yuan ($24.4 billion; 21.3 billion euros), and hi-fi products are one of the fastest-growing segments, the report says.

The premium hi-fi speakers on sale in China mostly come from Europe, especially Britain, which is home to top brands such as KEF, Bowers & Wilkins and Monitor Audio.

"In three to five years, we expect double-digit growth year-on-year for our custom-install speakers (in China), and even higher growth in personal and digital products," Grace Lo, marketing director at KEF, says.

The company, which already works with British brand Princess Yachts to install ultra-thin ceiling speakers in its cabins, and with Japanese manufactures of high-speed trains, says it is looking for brand partners in China.

It is not the first time hi-fi products have been trendy in China. In the early 1990s, when Chinese shoppers started gaining a taste for European lifestyles, hi-fi gadgets were a popular buy among audiophiles.

Dong Wenjie, editor of High Fidelity Magazine, says that today China is again a key market for European premium audio brands.

"Hong Kong was a colony of the UK, so the first batch of hi-fi brands on the Chinese mainland were mostly British brands from Hong Kong," he explains. "For this reason, Chinese fans know more about British brands and recognize them better.

"Hong Kong and the mainland markets are a priority for the British hi-fi manufacturers."

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