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The Swiss watchmaking industry is booming

The Swiss watchmaking industry is set to achieve record exports: Time pieces worth at least SFr8.6 billion ($5.4 billion) will be exported this year. Customs officials attribute the rise to more luxury watches being sold abroad.

The Swiss watchmaking industry is set to achieve record exports: Time pieces worth at least SFr8.6 billion ($5.4 billion) will be exported this year. Customs officials attribute the rise to more luxury watches being sold abroad.

The head of the Watchmaking Federation, François Habersaat, explains that the United States remains the premier market for exports. The recovery of Hong Kong and Singapore are also contributing factors to their success, he says.

For 2000, Habersaat is optimistic, forecasting an increase in exports of up to 3.2 percent compared to last year.

He explains the strategy behind the industry’s success is twofold: Firstly, Swiss watchmakers are, in the majority, concentrating on the niche market of luxury watchmaking. Secondly, their strategy is one of limiting the number of sub-contractors used, which serves to keep profits within the company.

Companies such as Swatch or LVMH have been able consolidate their strong market positions through controlling every operational stage, from production to distribution.

Looking to the future, the Internet is a crucial medium for both marketing and selling the products, according to Habersaat.

Swiss companies must be willing to go online to sustain growth levels. Equally important, attention must be paid to emerging markets where there is a market for ‘Swiss made’ watches of up to SFr100 ($63).

From staff and wire reports.

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