Music Inc Magazine May 2024



HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY? Every weekday morning is busy. I get up at 7 a.m., and take my daughter to kindergarten. Then, I drive 40 minutes to my wife’s workplace in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou, followed by another 40-minute drive to Don- ner’s office. Normally, I will arrive at my desk before 9:30 a.m. and grab a cup of hot tea. After I say “hi” to the team, I start checking emails. Monday and Tuesday morn- ings are critical as l check and reply to all overseas emails over the weekend. Also on Tuesday morning, we have our weekly branding and marketing meeting. CAN YOU SHARE A BIT ON HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED WITH DONNER? I’d been working in the publishing and musical instrument industry for more than a decade. I was in bands when I started my internship at a golf magazine called Golf Vaca- tions as an assistant editor. I never hated golf but it was just instinct that drove me to move to Beijing to work for Modern Player Magazine in 2011, which was the best-selling print magazine in China that covered guitars, basses and drums. Having the opportunities to sit down and talk with the best musicians in China and around the world, as well as test out all the latest gear, were some of the best parts of my 20s before the print publishing industry in China was crushed by the digital world. In 2014, I became the chief editor of musicianguide. com when I started to focus on promoting local and in- die bands and rock music in China, managing a team of about 20 freelance writers and content creators. Here, I built up my skill set on online marketing, traffic growth and e-commerce. I had a short break from MI from 2018–2021, when I was invited by Toto Deng, my best friend and drummer from school days, to be the co-founder of our new company that focused on the global e-commerce market. We were so keen on industrial and vintage-style lighting fixtures that we de - veloped a new type of triple-head cord light. Toto handled the supply chain and manufacturing, and I operated all the sales channels, including Amazon and Shopify stores. We even started an Etsy store just to test out some crazy ideas about enamel pins and handmade lamps. We built every- thing from scratch. It was a bittersweet time but one of the best decisions we made was ceasing operations before the pandemic ruined everything. In 2022, I was recruited by Rantion Technology, Don- ner’s parent company, to be the company’s PR manager. It was my old friend Jinbo Hui who introduced me to Don-

ner. She knew I was the best candidate for the PR job in an e-commerce driven music company — a media veteran who also happened to know about music gear and selling stuff online. SOUNDS LIKE YOU DID A LOT OF INTERESTING THINGS. CAN GIVE SOME BACKGROUND ON HOW THE DONNER BRAND CAME TO BE? Before founding the Donner brand in 2012, the par- ent company, Rantion Technology, had already earned great success in the global e-commerce market and was one of the most successful cross-border trading compa- nies in China. It started with a mission to help music lovers get access to [instruments to] play music easily. Donner achieved e- commerce success over the last decade starting with its mini effects pedals, and then eventually guitars, drums and keyboards. When I first represented Donner at The 2022 NAMM Show, we presented our electric guitars, digital pianos and some experimental projects — includ - ing our carbon fiber guitar and the smart guitar. I was surprised how people who passed by our booth told us they only knew Donner from those tiny pedals on Amazon and had never expected to see Donner [at The NAMM Show] as an exhibitor, nor did they expect to see us dis - play such wide range of musical instruments. By exhibit - ing at NAMM, Donner made itself a household brand. IT’S GREAT TO SEE DONNER MAKE THAT COMMIT- MENT TO EXHIBITING AT THE NAMM SHOW. WHY SHOULD U.S. RETAILERS CONSIDER STOCKING DONNER’S PRODUCTS? Donner’s products are developed for specific target mar - kets. When new products are developed, it’s important to consider the target market. Most people know Donner’s tar- get market is beginner and entry-level musicians. But what they don’t know is that we have a much deeper understand- ing about the target buyer. For example, the DDP-80 digital piano. Do you know why we build it with only one sound and wooden-style finish in a compact size? For beginners or someone who wants to play for fun and, after a long day, wants to sit down and start to playing without messing around with settings. Before Donner’s R&D team kicked in, we would gather all the history sales data and customer reviews while the CMI team would send out questionnaires to selected potential users to collect more information to find out what really mattered to our target audience. The price point of Donner’s products should also be a

26 I MUSIC INC. I MAY 2024

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