Harman International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, has announced that phase II construction of Harman Automotive Electronic System (Suzhou) was successfully completed and the new facility officially began operations. Total investment for the project was about US$6.8m, covering a construction area of 14,000 sqm, with multiple world class production lines added. Furthermore, Harman Suzhou's storage and logistics facilities will be further optimised to attain the goal of doubling the existing production capacity.

"China is the world's largest automobile production and consumption market," said Dinesh Paliwal, chief executive officer and president of Harman International, "We have always had confidence in the Chinese market, and will continue to expand our investment in China, drive the rapid development of our business here with technological innovation and premium product quality, stay on top of the latest demands of the Chinese market, and provide solutions in a more efficient way."

Harman Suzhou is the company's first production plant established in China. After 12 years of development, it has become Harman's largest production and R&D base in the Asia Pacific region. Side by side with the Harman Suzhou Global Product R&D centre, the Harman Suzhou facility has realised seamless integration between R&D and manufacturing, making Harman the only supplier in China's automotive branded audio industry to boast full value chain capabilities, including sourcing, R&D, production, technical support, and distribution and retailing. The completion of phase II project gives Harman the capacity to build smart workshops, upgrade smart energy management systems, and optimise order handling and scheduling within the plant, striving to fully expand automation from end-to-end processes by 2025 and successfully complete the transformation into a lean factory.

"Since its establishment, the Harman Suzhou plant has maintained rapid growth, and the Phase II extension project is an important milestone for further improving local R&D and manufacturing capabilities. Supported by the global product R&D centre and the manufacturing base in Suzhou, as well as Harman's global R&D resources, we closely work with China's fast growing automobile manufacturers to provide high quality automotive audio and connected car products and solutions, while extending our reach to the global market," said David Jin, chairman and president, Northeast Asia and China, Harman International.

Established in 2006 and having grown into the largest production and R&D base in Asia Pacific, Harman Suzhou is mainly engaged in the design, research and development, and production of digital sound reproduction equipment, including digital signal amplifiers and speakers, audio and visual control centre systems, Bluetooth, navigation, and multimedia systems, and related parts and components. The Suzhou facilities develop new products for Harman China and Harman International, and have achieved seamless integration among product development, design, pilot production, and mass production, with world-class technologies. Side by side with the official launch of the Suzhou PDC in March 2016, Harman Suzhou provides services and solutions for over twenty Chinese and foreign customers, including Audi, BMW, Benz, Toyota, Hyundai, Great Wall, GAC Trumpchi, Geely, and FCA.

China is one of Harman's most important markets. Harman has established four world-class R&D centres in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Suzhou, and two manufacturing plants in Suzhou and Dandong, as well as many flagship stores and experience centres. It has more than 3,700 employees across the country. Last year, Harman Technology (Shenzhen) celebrated its office relocation, allowing it to gradually host more and more functions and expand R&D teams to integrate with the global business while attracting a growing number of staff from home and abroad.