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Trumpet Discussion Discuss $250 for Jinbao's Best in the General forums; Has anyone here tried contacting Jinbao? You know, that seems like a nifty little side project I can do when ...
  1. #21
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    Has anyone here tried contacting Jinbao?

    You know, that seems like a nifty little side project I can do when I'm not practicing (Or studying for my placement tests !!).

  2. #22
    Forte User MUSICandCHARACTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavens2kadonka
    How can Jinbao make a good horn with such low prices? I KNOW labor in China is cheaper than other countries (Gross domestic product of China was $918 in 2001, compared to U.S.'s $34,788).
    This is a common assumption, and is probably not true.

    From: http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/china/02083001.html

    It goes without saying that wages alone do not decide the competitiveness of a country's industries. If the simple logic that "low wages equals high competitiveness" were actually true, countries such as Bangladesh and Somalia, with wage levels even lower than those of China, should be competitive. It would also be expected that in China too, foreign investment would be focused on the inland regions of the country where development is lagging behind that of the coastal regions. In reality, however, these trends have not materialized. Accordingly, when making judgments concerning competitiveness it is vital to take labor productivity into consideration. In other words, in countries where wages are cheap relative to productivity, competitiveness should be strong, but in low-wage countries where productivity is even lower, competitiveness should actually be weak.

    As an indicator of competitiveness, it would therefore be better to use unit labor cost, which takes into consideration both wages and labor productivity. For example, although the average wage rate in China is only 2.1% that of the United States, productivity is also at only 2.7% that of the U.S., so that its unit labor cost (2.1/2.7 = 76.9%) is not so much different from that of the U.S. If other factors such as China's high capital costs, poor infrastructure and weak legal system, are taken into consideration, its advantage in international competitiveness is further diluted.


    So looking at productivity along with wages, there is only a 25% savings. Then there dilution by infrastructure and a weak legal system. Then importing costs have to be considered.

    Bottom line, cheap Chinese labor makes only a small difference. I posted this the the TH, the best example we have in recent history is Conn's move to Abilene. This was done to find cheaper labor (the craftsmen in Elkhart were costing too much according to Conn's management). The move nearly killed them.

    The quality stunk in Abilene. After a few years, Conn quit stamping Abilene on the bells because the "made in Abilene" label meant lower quality. Before moving to Abilene, the Conn 36/38 were the horns to have. After they moved from Abilene, they tried to remake the Conn 38, but the mandrels and jigs were lost. They never did make the horn well again.

    To save a few dollars on labor, Conn almost killed the company. In the trombone world, a Conn 88H made in Elkhart is a prize. A Conn 88H made in Abilene is a dog (I know, I owned one). Recently, the Conn 88H Gen 2 has brought Conn back into prominence in the trombone world much like the Conn V1 has done in the trumpet world.

    Jinbao is trying to separate itself from other Chinese manufacturers. Good luck. Players in the orient don't play Chinese horns, and have a dislike even for Yamaha. They want Western horns. What must an Western horn cost in Singapore compared to a Chinese horn? Plenty more I am sure. But no player want them in the Orient. They want the good stuff -- American and Western made!

    Some more to chew on.

    Happy Independence Day for all of you in the US!

    Jim
    Dr. Jim Fox
    Licensed Mental Health Therapist
    Owner: www.allbrassradio.com

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUSICandCHARACTER
    As an indicator of competitiveness, it would therefore be better to use unit labor cost, which takes into consideration both wages and labor productivity. For example, although the average wage rate in China is only 2.1% that of the United States, productivity is also at only 2.7% that of the U.S., so that its unit labor cost (2.1/2.7 = 76.9%) is not so much different from that of the U.S. If other factors such as China's high capital costs, poor infrastructure and weak legal system, are taken into consideration, its advantage in international competitiveness is further diluted.
    This very simplistic calculation doesn't apply to largely handmade products. It's rediculous to presume that a US citizen can assemble a trumpet almost 50-times faster than a Chinese. Those kinds of productivity gains come in applications where technology, such as CNC, is in use to make many repetitive copies of the same items. Handhammered bells, hand drawn leadpipes and such leave little opportunity for such productivity gains.

    Handmade products are where the Chinese can be highly competitive.

    Dave
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    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
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  4. #24
    Forte User MUSICandCHARACTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcstep
    This very simplistic calculation doesn't apply to largely handmade products. It's rediculous to presume that a US citizen can assemble a trumpet almost 50-times faster than a Chinese. Those kinds of productivity gains come in applications where technology, such as CNC, is in use to make many repetitive copies of the same items. Handhammered bells, hand drawn leadpipes and such leave little opportunity for such productivity gains.

    Handmade products are where the Chinese can be highly competitive.

    Dave
    But are not brass instrument made in a factory? Is not a lot of the process mechanized? Jinbao has an extensive assembly line. Sure bells are hammered and then spun. Hand drawn leadpipes are drawn through a machine. CNC lathe is a machine. If they are not using one for their "no-name" mouthpieces then productivity there is way behind.

    I grant you that this formula may not fit every situation (and certainly is not a perfect fit here), but it is another viewpoint. Much of the savings of Chinese labor is hidden in such details. The Conn Abilene fiasco shows that the parts that need craftsmen are hard to come by.

    Jim
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUSICandCHARACTER
    But are not brass instrument made in a factory? Is not a lot of the process mechanized? Jinbao has an extensive assembly line. Sure bells are hammered and then spun. Hand drawn leadpipes are drawn through a machine. CNC lathe is a machine. If they are not using one for their "no-name" mouthpieces then productivity there is way behind.
    You presume that Chinese do not have lathes in their trumpet factories. That's wrong.

    Those national statistics about Chinese productivity include a giant family-farm system (everything by hand) and a construction industry building skyscrapers with wheelbarrows. They are not representative of the textile and assembly industries that have popped up in the last ten-years. Don't fool yourself, the Chinese (in certain markets) have tremendous competitive advantages compared to the average USA instrument maker. The biggest single advantage is labor cost.

    I know you're not an economist or an accountant (I am), but, with all due respect, your anti-Chinese position stretches the limits of comprehension.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

  6. #26
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I'm e-mailing Jinbao.

    Admit it, though. The low price for Cupronickel is something to think about. Also, from what I have seen so far of the Jinbao dealers: Regal Music calls "cupronickel" nickel silver, and shows a sticky valve of an older trumpet as what BAD trumpets do,that, and other sites mentioning Jinbao were e-bay and other auction sites. I am not going to make any further blind guesses (I think I've made enough already) and say all the dealers of Jinbao are SHADY, I am sure I must be missing some well-reputed seller's site. Wasn't a dealer on Trumpetherald going to allow users there to try a Jinbao?

    BTW, why is there such an argument over student line trumpets? All student lines suck, and if they didn't why would there be trumpets costing so many thousands more?

    I do own a student line 1972 bundy cornet that actually plays pretty good, but how much did I give for it (It came in excellent condition, with a full bottle of Al Cass and a good case)?

    $75. Of course, the person I bought it from was not a trumpet player, and was needing money for a new system (Like most everyone my age with desires, bleh..), but would I EVER give more than that price for a student trumpet from now on (regardless of its reputation as a great student trumpet, or the student trumpet that professionals play)?

    Hell no!

  7. #27
    Forte User Heavens2kadonka's Avatar
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    What WOULD be awesome if a Chinese dealer could produce an excellent professional model horn at around a grand price...

  8. #28
    Forte User MUSICandCHARACTER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcstep
    You presume that Chinese do not have lathes in their trumpet factories. That's wrong.

    Those national statistics about Chinese productivity include a giant family-farm system (everything by hand) and a construction industry building skyscrapers with wheelbarrows. They are not representative of the textile and assembly industries that have popped up in the last ten-years. Don't fool yourself, the Chinese (in certain markets) have tremendous competitive advantages compared to the average USA instrument maker. The biggest single advantage is labor cost.

    I know you're not an economist or an accountant (I am), but, with all due respect, your anti-Chinese position stretches the limits of comprehension.

    Dave
    Huh? I did say "IF"! You simply cannot have it both ways. The cheap labor statistics also include the inland farming system where the people get paid nothing. Sure the factories are more productive, but they also get paid more. I am not a Chinese economist, and I am not an accountant. But I have written a graduate statistics book and was only 1 class short of the class requirement for a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics (I got my doctorate instead in Ed Psy, Research and Evaluation).

    Numbers are not foreign (no pun intended) to me. My main point is simple. The labor in China for making horns is not that much cheaper than Western countries. Cheaper, yes. But not so cheap that $69 can produce a quality horn. $250? Probably getting closer.

    My secondary point is that with all the automation in making instruments today, to make a fine instrument still takes a craftsman's touch. Conn proved that. I don't think the Chinese are yet worried about craftsmanship. When they are, their horns will come up in price. When players in the Orient start playing them by choice, we will know.

    Jim
    Dr. Jim Fox
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUSICandCHARACTER
    Numbers are not foreign (no pun intended) to me. My main point is simple. The labor in China for making horns is not that much cheaper than Western countries. Cheaper, yes. But not so cheap that $69 can produce a quality horn. $250? Probably getting closer.
    If you're such a quant then why can't you face the fact that Chinese manufacturers are NOT 50-times less efficient than in USA and their labor cost are? Your main point is flat wrong. You're using bad data to support an unsupportable argument. We see the trumpets on store shelves at retail prices from $149 to $199.

    So far, we're only talking about student horns. The labor multiple will go up by five or six times to produce a Yamaha-quality horn, but that'll still allow a $500 to $600 price for a pro-level horn, IF they decide to focus on that market.

    I suspect they won't anytime soon because the real money in the USA market is with one-time, first-time buyers. 80% of US teenage boys own a guitar and practice it for a week (cumulatively). Showrooms are clogged with sub-$200 POS guitars made in Korea and China. The same thing is now happening in band instruments, selling to parents of ten to twelve year olds. That market is most certainly hundreds of millions in revenue, if not billions. If the margin is 20%, that's $200million bottom line. OTOH, you could go after the step-up horn market and the unit volume drops by 40% to 60%, the price doubles, but the margin probably falls to 10% to 15%. The pro-horn markets' unit volume cuts in half again and the margin probably lowers again. Looking at it only as an investment proposition, the beginner market is the place to be.

    Dave
    Schilke '60 B1
    Selmer Paris -- '57 #20 K-Modified/
    '03 Concept TT w/ GR66.8B2.8
    '94 Lawler TL cornet w/ Sparx 2B
    Conn Vintage One flugel - GR66FD
    www.pitpops.com www.ucm-inc.com
    Rocky Mountain Trumpet Fest

  10. #30
    Forte User MUSICandCHARACTER's Avatar
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    Dave,

    I think your analysis is good. I think the advantage of Chinese labor is overblown a bit. But your thinking seems fine. I would push it out a bit, but we really don't know. If Heaven's gets an answer to the email with the truth about what they make, it will be very interesting. But even then, would they tell the truth? Maybe.

    Bottom line is that to date, no matter how much the Chinese horn costs, they have not played well. Not yet. Maybe they will ... but I will not hold my breath.

    It took quite some time for Conn to recover from Abilene. Even good beginner horns take some craftsmanship.

    Will Jinbao move beyond building junk? Maybe. But I still contend that we have seen $70 Chinese horns not sell and now there are the new $250 horns. Amati has been making horns for a long time. Their beginner line is more expensive ... and not much better. When Jinbao sells a $400 beginners horn, it will probably be decent. I will have to compete with Conn, Yamaha, Blessing, Holton, etc.

    Time will tell. Until then, I am not going to recommend these horns to anyone and do what I can to keep unsuspecting parents from buying them. I will keep playing them at the trade shows. To date, they have not even been close to decent. But I will keep playing them.

    Dave, in your opinion, do you think as the Chinese market becomes more open and free and more foreign investment comes in, that the wages will begin to come up. Then the advantage will start to become smaller?

    Jim
    Dr. Jim Fox
    Licensed Mental Health Therapist
    Owner: www.allbrassradio.com

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