BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. audio company Harman, known for providing car stereos for BMW, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz, said it has finalized agreements with Chinese automakers Geely and Chang'An.
"With these two new awards, we continue our strategic vision in providing premium infotainment features to our customers in high-growth emerging markets," Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman's president and chief executive officer, said Monday at a press conference during the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.
He also announced that his company will establish a global research and development center in Suzhou, and a joint research laboratory for automotive innovation with Tsinghua University.
Having entered China in 2010, Harman has achieved "tremendous progress" and its business has been growing at an annual rate of 80 percent in the world's largest auto market, according to Paliwal.
He stressed that cooperation with domestic automakers will help train local talents and raise the profile of Chinese brands worldwide.
Geely Motors, China's largest private car maker and parent company of Volvo Cars, is promoting its new SUV models incorporating Harman stereos at the exhibition.
Haval, another homegrown automaker, has also installed Harman systems in its newly launched H8 SUV model. The basic version of the H8 is priced at a little over 200,000 yuan, or 32,120 U.S. dollars.
David Jin, chairman and president of Harman northeast Asia and China, said at the press conference that the audio firm is not worried about whether its products will be favored by price-sensitive Chinese consumers.
Top technologies, cost-efficient solutions and market understanding are the cutting edges for Harman to compete in China, Paliwal told Xinhua.
Visiting the International Automotive Exhibition, a man surnamed Hua said that he would not care about the audio brand fitted in his car if he had just spent 200,000 yuan on it, "and it is hard to hear good music when I drive in rush hour."
The 10-day show exhibits more than 1,000 automobiles from 14 countries, and will feature the debuts of 118 cars. Some 120,000 people are expected to attend daily.