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February, 24, 2017

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Striking a chord in new headphone market

China will soon be the biggest customer of major audio system producer, says its chief

Daniel Sennheiser, chief executive officer of Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co KG, one of the world's biggest audio system producers by sales revenue, cannot stop thinking about how many lower-tier Chinese cities his products have yet to reach, every time he visits the country.

The German group has made plans to deploy more resources and manpower in the markets of China's provincial capitals and lower-tier cities. It wants to speed up promotions of its products next year, including headphones, as well as meeting and conference sound equipment.

"We all know about the frustrating quality of telephone conference calls and we have a lot of solutions," said Sennheiser, who traveled to China four times this year.

The CEO said that a typical Sennheiser user is usually one that knows a lot about audio equipment or is an audio professional. "In the professional audio world we have 100 percent brand awareness," he said.

He said for music stars such as Adele, Pink Flloyd, David Bowie and Robbie Williams, when they are singing on stage, a Sennheiser microphone is often the only thing between them and the audience.

China will be his company's biggest market very soon and there is a huge opportunity to improve the quality of its communications and business, he said.

Germany used to be the company's largest market, because that is where it is from, while later the United States became bigger and still later on the company found that its biggest growth rates are in China.

Recently, the German came to China to unveil Sennheiser's very first immersive Sound Studio at The Peninsula Hotel in Beijing, and spoke with China Daily about the company's strategy and his management style.

The following are edited excerpts from the interview:

How do you promote your business in China?

The best way of doing that is being very close to our customers, and Sennheiser has always operated that way. We need to understand what our customers' problems are and what their product needs are.

When it becomes more complicated, we bring in our engineers with all their knowledge, but we also use local partners and implementation partners, in order to arrive at a solution that is valid there.

Sennheiser needs to work with what we call local integrators to bring a complete package to companies which don't want to choose just a microphone, but want to choose a full solution for their conference room.

What is your biggest achievement as Sennheiser's CEO?

It's not so long since I became the CEO, so maybe it's very premature to talk about my achievement. Usually you talk about 'achievement' at the end of your life. My brother and I-already not very typical-are two brothers running Sennheiser together, both with the title of CEO. And what we provide is what the company needs: renewal.

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