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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Watchmakers eye Chinese consumers
    2018-January-30  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

WATCHMAKERS at the industry’s major fair in Geneva this month said they are bringing themselves up to speed in the digital age following China’s economic recovery.

Through online stores, social networks, and brand-new boutiques in China’s central cities, manufacturers at the international luxury watchmakers show the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) are hoping to reach up-and-coming affluent shoppers now that financial signals are positive again in Asia.

“China was the good surprise of the past year with a sharp increase in our exports,” said Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Swiss Watch Industry Federation, adding the market still presents a strong potential for growth.

According to the China Horology Association, in the first 10 months of 2017, nearly 187 million pieces of watches were imported to China, up 12.6 percent year on year.

Angelo Bonati, CEO of Officine Panerai, an Italian premium watchmaker, once jokingly said, “In today’s global watch market, not paying attention to the Chinese market is like a blind man walking.”

While statistics for the whole of 2017 are yet to be published, Swiss watch exports to China have returned to double-digit growth, rising by almost 20 percent between January and the end of November.

Watch sales grew spectacularly with the expansion of the Chinese economy until the Chinese Government banned extravagant gifts in an anti-corruption drive at the end of 2013.

“There was a big dip,” said Pablo Mauron, a partner at Shanghai-based digital communications company DLG. “But the signals are once again very positive. For a long time, the Chinese loved to buy their watches in Europe, in the shops on the Rue du Rhone in Geneva or in Paris. They liked to come back from their travels with an experience to tell,” he said.

But watch enthusiasts are now more inclined to buy directly in China, both because of a reduction in taxes on foreign purchases and a greater hesitation to travel following the wave of attacks in Europe.

Among the developments, Chinese consumers are now much quicker to make purchases online, notably through China’s main social network WeChat.

“Many brands have positioned themselves on this platform to reach a new clientele,” said Mauron, citing German manufacturer Montblanc, which led a social media campaign to launch its interactive watch in China.

Swiss brand H. Moser plans to unveil at the Geneva fair a partnership with JD.com, the Chinese online marketplace.

“A small factory like ours doesn’t necessarily have the means to launch a big advertising campaign throughout China,” said Edward Meylan, CEO of H. Moser, emphasizing the effectiveness of online trade to gain a foothold in the market.

The brand, however, also plans to open its first high-street store in China because it believes buyers still want to see expensive products in the flesh before buying.

French company Hermes also plans to open an online store in China later this year, said one of its directors Guillaume de Seynes in an interview at SIHH. “It remains a market in which we have a lot of hope,” said Guillaume de Seynes.

According to data published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, a younger generation of affluent consumers on the mainland and in Hong Kong are largely responsible for the increasing demand in 2017.

In July last year, the value of Swiss watch exports rose 3.6 percent year on year to about US$1.8 billion, with imports by the mainland increasing 22.3 percent, according to the federation.

The renewed demand from the Chinese market is believed to help stabilize the global recovery of the luxury-watch market and the momentum is expected to continue into the future, the federation said.(China Daily)

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