Harman International Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HAR), the global premium audio and infotainment group, said today that it will open a new global research and development center in Suzhou, China in mid 2015, initially adding about 200 new employees at the site. Construction of the new 10,000 sq. m. (100,000 sq. ft.) facility will begin in June. The announcement was made during the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.
HARMAN has been active in Suzhou since 2000, when a manufacturing facility was opened to produce a variety of Lifestyle audio, multimedia and mobile products. A new manufacturing plant for automotive audio and infotainment systems was added nearby in 2008, and the facility has since expanded several times to incorporate research and manufacturing for multiple HARMAN businesses. HARMAN employment in Suzhou currently totals about 800 people.
“We are excited to grow our footprint in China once again, contributing to more than five years of continuous investment and expansion,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO. “The Suzhou complex has been instrumental in supporting both our Asia/Pacific customers and global automotive partners who operate from China. This new development center will significantly strengthen our global R&D value chain, while further leveraging the talent and competitive costs of the region.”
The new custom-built development center in Suzhou will focus on global product design for automotive loudspeakers and amplifiers. The two-story facility will include a pilot manufacturing plant for automotive electronics, validation and environmental test facilities, acoustic systems laboratories, and reference listening rooms. HARMAN will invest about US$16 million for initial construction and outfitting, with room for expanding the facility to host up to 350 employees in the future.
HARMAN currently employs about 2500 people in China, at facilities in Suzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Dandong. The Company supports a number of global automotive partners from the site, as well as a growing number of domestic Chinese automakers. HARMAN has provided the premium audio systems for such milestone events as the Beijing Olympics, the Shanghai World Expo, the China National Day celebration, and hundreds of cinema, sporting and entertainment venues across China. HARMAN Flagship Stores in Beijing and Shanghai are introducing thousands of new consumers to premium HARMAN brands. Led by its activities in China, HARMAN sales to the BRIC emerging markets have enjoyed compound annual growth of around 80 percent over the past five years.
Visit HARMAN during the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in Hall E2 for a demonstration of HARMAN’s portfolio of infotainment and in-car audio solutions.