Valencia

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Valencia

In 1971, my father, Mr. Tsai Ching Fong, founded the Chuan Yin Music Co. together with his younger brothers. Chuan Yin was a very small guitar factory at that time and I was still in college. During school vacations, I would work part time for my father to earn my tuition fee. It was also the time I received my elementary education for guitar making. After I graduated, my father brought me into his company cos’ he expected me to eventually take over his business. This is still quite common in our culture and he’s such a loving father to me. The brand name Valencia was created in 1972 in Melbourne by two Australian music industry legends, Dutchy (Geoff) Turner and Lou Toppano. It’s an interesting and warming story of how destinies crossed together. In 1972, Dutchy and Lou created the Valencia name and purchased some Classic guitars under this new brand. They began selling these guitars in Toppano’s music store in Melbourne, Australia and ultimately through the Toppano wholesale division. In 1978 upon the retirement of Dutchy & Lou the wholesale division was sold to Metcalf Wholesale. Dutchy continued working part-time in the industry for this company and in turn part-time for Kevin Hague, Australasian Music Supplies (AMS). In 1984 Kevin purchased the controlling interest of Metcalf Wholesale and merged it into AMS and with that came the Valencia brand name. In 1986 the balance of the purchase of Metcalf Wholesale was completed, giving Kevin/AMS 100% ownership of the Valencia name.

From 1984 onwards, Kevin/AMS brought Valencia guitars to Samick Musical Instruments (Korea) for production, the largest guitar manufacturing plant in the world at that time. By the late 80’s, manufacturing of high quality, entry level Classic guitars in Korea was cost prohibitive, so in 1989, Kevin/AMS decided to move production to Taiwan. Then two destinies crossed here for the first time. At that time we had already been making high quality guitars for 18 years. We’d become the biggest of all Taiwanese owned guitar factories in Taiwan. We had established very good reputation in the guitar industry, making guitars for many top brands around the world. Back to the 80s, to get a chance to work together was nowhere near as easy as it is today when you have all the convenience of the Internet ... and the chance to work with someone who was going to be a lifetime friend is even much smaller! It would be a serious understatement if I say the cooperation with Kevin/AMS was good. We had become friends like brothers. It’s not just between Kevin and me, but also between staff in the two companies.

In the 1990s, the change in Taiwan was drastic. Not only were the costs increasing, but workers were scarcely available. We had to close the factory in the end. I started a new distribution company, Team International Music Co., Ltd, with my brother C.J. Tsai. We exclusively distributed many top brands, including Gibson and Martin, for the Taiwanese market. Life was comfortable but guitar making was already in our blood that we couldn’t stop. In 1994, we entered China and discovered this enormously large market of manufacturing. We established a new company (Team China) offering sourcing, quality control and shipping services. With our profound knowledge of guitar making, we worked hard to educate our sub-contracted factories. We also trained a team of inspectors to oversee production in the factories full time. When the quality finally met our approval, business surged and soon we crossed with Valencia again.

In 1996, greatly encouraged by the rapid growth of Team China and the huge potential in China, Kevin Hague became one of the shareholders of Team China and in 1997 we started to make Valencia guitars again for AMS -- this time in China. In 1998 I asked Kevin if we could use the Valencia name for my own distribution company in Taiwan and for our world market (except Australia, of course). Kevin gave a thrilling and exciting answer - he agreed almost immediately. This was one of the most important moments for us. I can't express enough how great my gratitude to Kevin is... we already had the best product and now we had the best name! Valencia guitars were soon spread into 30 countries, then 60 and now more than 80 countries around the world. They are distributed by many of the best and largest wholesalers in their respective markets and Valencia is the No. 1 guitar brand in terms of sales volume in many countries now. I don’t want to spend time flaunting the large quantity of Valencia guitars we’ve sold (although I do feel deeply proud of it) ... I just want to share with you our company's philosophy to offer the best value products. This will never change and you can count on us that all Valencia guitars are worth every single penny you spend!

www.valencia-guitar.com