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True for everything to a gwai loh* visiting China for the first time, scale is king. The enormity of it is overwhelming. Add the incredible hospitality we encountered -- we left with an extra suitcase full of gifts from complete strangers such that Finnair demanded we transfer an excess 10 kilos to carry-on to conform to airline weight regulations -- and the challenge of doing justice to our visit looms just as large. As such, our visit to Melody one hour outside Shenzhen is far better expressed in pictures than words.
Foreign devil

Privately owned unlike its government-funded main competitor Spark/Cayin, the Melody factory is significantly larger than many comparable US outfits I visited in the past. During earlier economic boom phases, Melody supported a work force of up to 200, with an associated output of 6000 tube electronic units per year and a domestic dealer network of 380. Naturally, the current economic crunch -- Shenzhen alone has lost 68,000 businesses this year as a result -- has impacted Melody as well. Entrepreneurial president Allen S. H. Wang's response? Use the 2008 Guangzhou AV Fair to launch an affordable new valve electronics line dubbed Audixun (by Melody) for domestic distribution only. A completely revamped and streamlined export offering is planned for 2009.

Your reporter, Allen S. H. Wang and son and new global marketing manager Alex Wang who just graduated from Melbourne University in Australia. Alex acted as our translator, chauffeur, liaison for the Guangzhou show and overall tour guide.
The ground floor of the dormitory wing houses the 100-seat canteen and outside telephones for the workers.