1. Business in Japan and the US markets is relatively satisfactory; the Asian economic situation has remained sluggish, especially in China where the market has stagnated through the year. On the other hand, the influence of a booming shopping demand by Chinese tourists in overseas markets is becoming exceedingly high. Under these circumstances, proactive measures against borderless markets is one of the key issues as well as continuous devotion to the Japanese and the US markets which are expected to be in good shape in 2016.
2. 2016 marks 40 years since Citizen launched the world’s first light-powered analogue watch. To celebrate this anniversary, the world’s thinnest light-powered watch, Eco-Drive One, will be introduced at Baselworld 2016. At the same time, in order to extend broader female consumer interest in the Eco-Drive, new Citizen L watches will be launched. We have always concentrated on developing products which are user-friendly with constantly improved design beauty to enrich the individuals’ state of mind, this philosophy will remain unchanged.
3. We believe that mechanical watches will maintain their presence within a certain market share. However, we don’t foresee a large growth of this category. In other words, we expect that they will continue to constitute a particular and exclusive niche market as suggested in your question. Regarding smart-watches, we consider their arrival as “an opportunity” as opposed to a “threat” since they may create new interest in the field of wristwatches, especially for people who consult the time on mobile phone devices without wearing a wristwatch. For our company, as a true watch manufacturer, we have devoted ourselves to developing “beautiful authentic watches with smart functions”, not “digital devices or gadgets shaped like a watch”, since we launched Proximity in 2012, this stance has remained unchanged.
4. Baselworld is still one of the very important opportunities to represent our brand activities. The installation within the booth is an interpretation of the bilateral relationship between light and time since 2013. The relationship between light and time is one of the hallmarks of our brand, as is represented by our Eco- Drive technology, a technology that converts any light-source into power. We believe awards such as the Gold Pencil award (Design category) are great opportunities for our retailers and consumers to learn about our brand communication as well as our brand motto “Better Starts Now”. i.e. No matter who you are and what you do, it is always possible to make something better, and now is the time to start doing it.
EUROPA STAR’S FOUR QUESTIONS
1. What are your predictions for 2016? Do you think that exports will recover, or will the markets stagnate or continue to decline after the slump we saw in 2015? And what do you think were the reasons for the downturn in 2015?
2. What are your priorities for the coming year: consolidating your existing markets, actively exploring new markets (if so, which), rationalising / consolidating / expanding your distribution network, launching new products, PR initiatives, etc.?
3. Over the longer term, do you believe that mechanical watchmaking will gradually die out, hybridise, or continue to occupy its own exclusive niche? Do you see the advent of smartwatches as a potential threat, or an opportunity for growth and diversification?
4. What exactly do you hope to achieve from your participation in Baselworld 2016? Do you feel your presence at the fair is essential to your business, or are such forums less important now than they were in the past?