Shengya Audio is definitely among the best hi-fi manufacturers from China. Grant Fidelity has visited the factory twice in the past three years and we were impressed head-to-toe even on our first visit Shengya.
In our first factory tour, we visited 8 factories in about 2 weeks, ranging from 3-5 people workshops to huge establishments such as Shengya and Jungson. China is like anywhere in the world, few people are in audio businesses for quick money; majority are in the business for the love of music and love of audio gear.
A bit brief introduction of China’s Hi-Fi industry:
The Chinese audio industry started in early 1990s when southern China benefited greatly from China’s export of mass produced consumer electronics. Affluent consumers start to look for the next better thing for their household, while home ownership still wasn’t a big thing yet then (many state-owned Chinese businesses actually provides free housing to employees then!). Imported high end brands from all over the world first landed in Hong Kong then made their way into mainland China through Guangdong Province. But of course not many Chinese can actually afford the imported gear due to the extremely high price tag (western made high end audio gear is retailed for about the same price in China as it is in North America or Europe). Privatized business ownership plus cravings for high fidelity sound created the breeding land for the infant Chinese hi-fi industry. Like in North America, audiophiles in China then were not just satisfied with listening to music; they perpetually looked for ways to improve their system while trying to save their hard-earned money. The next event, DIY, is the natural progress – audiophiles start to try to make their own hi-fi from scratch. Guangdong has been the center of consumer electronics export since 1980′s with established capability to make PCB’s, component parts, assemblies and metal fabrication. All pieces are there for the hi-fi industry to be born when adding in audiophiles’ desire to make better and cheaper hi-fi. Shengya Audio was one of the audio workshops born in 1991.
The owners of Shengya is in fact a husband and wife team. Husband, Mr. Ho, is the design brain while the wife, Madam Zhang (Mrs. Ho – Chinese women do not change their last name after their marriage , does all management, sales and production management. Shengya waded through many rounds of ups and downs of the Hi-Fi industry in China, mainly because it has been providing OED/OEM for European and North American market over 15 years. It wasn’t much affected by the local economy or quick changing consumer taste in China. Over the past 18 years, Shengya has built a great design and production team and products are next to impeccable in terms of quality. Here are some of our tour pictures of Shengya:
Shengya Audio is located in Zhongshan – the city is named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen (12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925) who was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader. Although Sun is considered one of the greatest leaders of modern China, his political life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. Today, his home town of Zhongshan is renown for exporting high quality lighting fixtures such as chandeliers. One of the city’s street are lined up numerous wholesaler and retails of lighting fixtures – all windows are dressed with crystal chandeliers like in fairy tale. A satellite town called Xiaolan – is known for its horticulture – blooming chrysanthemum. Shengya Audio is just located in this flowery city and is a local star business too.
Well, back to the audio business:
Here is the Shengya building – 100+ employees work here as per CE / RoHs standard, 200,000 sqft in 3 floors.
The many awards Shengya has received over years from China:
The listening room – about 2500 sqft, elegantly decorated with solid wood. It could host a great party for many visitors at a time: (in the picture: Ian is checking out Shengya gear)
Production line with lots of expansion potential:
R&D Office (Ian in the picture):
Shengya’s owner (wife – Mdm. Zhang) with architecture picture of her new house: (she said “I have made enough money for this life to spend – now I run Shengya for the love of it”). Don’t we all wish that we could say that we had made enough for this life )?
Shengya’s technical brain (husband – Mr. Ho – right in dark suite at last year’s Guangzhou Hi-Fi show)
The flagship 600 watts monoblock (one is shown in picture. We had them to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this year and 2010 CES):
The complete combo – CS-6 tube preamp and PSM600 monoblocks: (together they weigh 600 lbs. Is your floor strong enough to hold these?
Well, I hope these pictures will give you a glimpse of one of the best managed audio companies in China and probably also in the world. I honestly think Shengya is a hidden treasure for many audiophiles to discover. Just like the company’s name Shengya – “Elegant Sound, Outstanding Equipment”.
Grant Fidelity is Shengya’s exclusive North American distributor since 2007. We have exhibited Shengya products at RMAF (Denver), CES (Las Vegas), Salon Sound & Image (Montreal) in the past and we will exhibit it at AK Fest in 2010. If you want to know more of their products, visit our website www.grantfidelity.com or simply call us. We love to chat with you about this one of our greatest discoveries from the Chinese Hi-Fi industry.
by Rachel – Grant Fidelity