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The Oyster and Its Pearl – Hailun and The Hailun Grand 178

Paige Tutt • Features • October 1, 2015

Precision. When asked, Basilios Strmec, President and Owner, explains that if there’s one thing that Hailun excels at above all others, it’s the ability to make parts that fit perfectly.

“Hailun is the only piano I know where you can take a complete piano action from one piano and insert it into another and start playing,” he says. “Such precision is incredibly difficult to achieve when you work with engineered woodparts. But Hailun has done it.”

Hailun was founded by Mr. Chen Hailun, who for many years was solely in the business of supplying parts for piano manufacturers. He then decided to try building pianos himself. “The pivotal point was that he went directly to Europe- to Vienna, Austria- to tap into the European sound tradition for design and expertise,” Strmec explains. “Hailun is the only Asian piano that is dedicated to what is commonly called the Viennese sound tradition. The company grew rapidly with an exceptionally successful IPO some two years ago on the Shenzen stock exchange. Now we focus on further technology improvements and product developments.”

In terms of improvements, Hailun in August of 2015 purchased the global patent rights to the Magic Lid technology, which is a proprietary safety system for the grand piano lid. “Starting this September this safety technology will be on all Hailun pianos worldwide- adding to Hailun’s core musical strength also a safety and convenience factor for families, female buyers, and those for whom the grand piano lid is a little to heavy to lift,” he says. “The Magic Lid technology allows the grand piano lid to be lifted with a finger and closed without any effort.” In terms of developments, the Emerson pianos are currently being introduced into the market. “The instruments will have a vast array of unique and original technology and, we expect, set a new standard for the customer,” says Strmec. “Some have expressed doubts that customers will be willing to pay $40,000 to $ 50,000 for a Chinese sourced piano, but our experience indicates that customers respond to real innovation and quality.”

It’s innovation that keeps Hailun thriving in a market saturated with a multitude of options. “The piano market in the U.S. is healthier than ever before,” Strmec says. “Just not for newly manufactured products. We are competing with used pianos that have been very well maintained. Just do a Craigslist search in the two counties next to Broward County in Florida. There are 22,000 listing for pianos in that market alone. For Hailun this means having pianos that have features and specifications that are new, are unique, and are a step forward. That is what the market is looking for.”

But innovation isn’t the only thing Hailun attributes its success to. It’s truly a team effort. “The key for Hailun was always its ability to bring together a wide variety of experts from across the world,” says Strmec. “From Europe, Peter Veletzky, a 5th generation piano builder and owner of Wendl & Lung Pianos, was the first to join the team. In a cooperating move he provided all of his technology and know-how to Hailun; he was joined by Stephen Paulello, an incredibly gifted piano designer. In the United States, renowned designer Frank Emerson, who most recently also helped Steinway with their instruments, brought significant improvements to Hailun and designed several instruments for the company. Mr. Chen’s genius has been and continues to be his uncanny ability to bring some of the best people in the industry to cooperate and develop great product.”

The market craves new and exciting products to keep consumers engaged, and for Hailun, their customers have their eyes on the Hailun Grand 178. “The Hailun Grand 178 has become the golden classic that customers are drawn to,” explains Strmec. “Its musical versatility, along with its impressive materials and workmanship make it one of the best, if not the best value proposition in the market. Interestingly enough, demand for our silent system Genio, which gives the consumer the benefit to play the piano quietly, has surged. It is indicative that even the acoustic piano will continue to become integrated with digital technology.” The Hailun Grand 178 has won the Piano d’Or, awarded by Le Pianiste, and has received many awarded in China, among them the designation as a national treasure. “In the U.S., we have been voted three times in a row as the MMR’s Piano of the Year and were very grateful to receive such an honor,” says Strmec.

With the piano market flooded with options, Hailun relies heavily on their dealers to provide help as well in keeping sales of their instruments steady. But Strmec explains this relationship between Hailun and their dealers is mutually beneficial. You scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours. “Service-orientation,” he begins. “We match well with stores that care about their customers and will go the second mile. Hailun is not only a product. It’s an experience and part of that is delivered by great retailers and representatives. Talk to us and we will help you become the best in your market.”

Strmec says it takes many to keep the piano industry thriving, and thanks all who have been instrumental in that process. “Special thanks to MMR, NAMM, the Piano Technician’s Guild, for helping create and sustain our industry,” he says.”

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