Highlights of the year 2018 – Brexit, trade talks and green finance

The year 2018 was a year of Brexit, electric cars and trade talks. It included special moments in the financial markets and in the company side. Green Bonds and Green Finance were getting more attention in the markets and trade talks and Brexit were the topics during the year 2018 along. Climate Change and low carbon landed also in the agenda of central banks.

Investors were also asking what is the role of the City as a global financial hub. Should it have its own rules in spite of the Brexit? In the financial hub competition, Frankfurt and Paris were the European cities to get more new financial offices as financial companies were moving some operations to the EU side.

The UK Parliament is expected to vote of the Brexit during Janury 2019 after very intensive debate about the deal during the year.

Climate Change has become part of the everyday life in the financial markets and for example one of the biggest insurance companies in the US, Berskhire Hathaway informed in February 2018, that it has got 3 billion dollars losses of the natural catastrophies, the hurricances in the US. Several central banks, including the European Central Bank and some Asian ones, have also agreed about the co-operation in the climate issues and how to monitor the impact on the markets.

In the tech-side augmented reality and ioT were the themes for the year. Apple, Amazon, Google, Tesla, Intel  and Samsung  were one of the tech-companies to deliver new services related to the new technology. On the other side of the topic, Facebook was dealing with the privacy issues globally. New tech- companies listed in the markets were for example Spotify and Xiaomi.

Year 2018 was a year of electric cars in many countries. The e-cars breakthrough with charging issues was one of the tech topics as well. Telsa founder Elon Musk was the leading industry sector figure as he estimated that Tesla would make one million cars by 2020 in February 2018.

Also the German automakers announced new investments and concept cars. For example the BMW Group launched an autonomous driving campus in Munich in March 2018.

Year 2018 was also a year for luxury goods and services. The Basel World 2018 -fair announced its good selling and for example the CEO of Hublot, Ricardo Guadalupe,  told ComteamPUB+ that the company expects double digit growth for the year and that the Chinese customers will be the leading segment.

In the debt markets the US Uber and Netflix issued their junk bonds to investors. Uber, the ride-sharing company, is said to plan an IPO for the year 2019 according to the secret filings to the SEC.

One of the biggest infrastructure projects ever, the China Silk Road, is getting more attention from the green investors side, while the organization made its first announcement of the green principles for the project co-operation and operators. The ancient Silk Road is expected to rise the GDP growth by 4 % or 240 billion dollars in the countries invlolved according to Credit Suisse analysis.

The aim of the Roman time Silk Road is to connect the western Europe with the eastern coast of China and to renew the infrasturcture in between. This means also that the 10 world largest container ports are located along the route.

Trade talks between different countries have continued lively during the year. US and China have been in the headlines, but also the EU with its agreement with Japan.  The political situation and rising volatility in the financial markets tell the direction for the next year. Geopolitical easing is needed.

Päivi Härkönen, co-founder, ComteamPUB+

 

 

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Hublot´s new ambassador Kylian Mbappe

 

The luxury watch manufacturer Hublot has a new ambassador – Kylian Mbappe. According to the company info, Kylian Mbappé is considered one of the best football players in the world.

– Hublot is delighted to welcome him as its new ambassador alongside football legends led by Brazil’s Pelé, the company said.

– This conveys a powerful message: the fusion of time, the power of dreams and passion, the magic of a sport, all values that athletes inspire, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe stated.

 

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Hublot CEO: Double digit growth this year – Chinese consumers ranking 1st

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe says that he expects the company to grow double digit, that is about 10-11 %, this year, well above the average luxury watch industry. Speaking to ComteamPUB+ he says that this year also the Chinese consumers will be the first big customer segment for this Swiss Luxury Watchmaker.

– This year will be very unique for Hublot. Our growth estimate is double digit that is 10-11 %, which is well above the 5-6 % average growth rate in the luxury watch industry this year. This year is also the first year for Chinese consumers to be ranked the number one. Our biggest growth is coming from the Greater China area, he says to ComteamPUB+.

Hublot, part of the LVMH Group (MC:FP),  is having 8 different brand stores in China and totally 18  in Greater China and the company is planning to open new stores globally so that the total stores would be around 100 in the next couple of years. This week the new opening is in Genf, Switzerland and in June they will open a new brand store in London, in the Old Bond Street.

-We want that our customers can experience the Hublot brand when they are travelling. So this is also important that the store locations are fitting our targets. We also want to demonstrate our strong brand, he explains.

Digital transformation in the focus

Digital transformation is in the focus of luxury watch industry nowadays. Companies are building different customer experiences in the internet with storytelling and strong social media channels. For example Hublot is having 2,9 million Instagram followers and in Facebook they are having 4,1 million followers.

-Digital transformation is shaping our industry. For example Hublot is having now 50 % of its advertising costs in digital channels compared to other media channels. And we are planning to build our own e-commerce platform in the couple of years. We want Hublot digital boutiques to offer a new Brand experience to our worldwide customers, he adds.

This e-commerce has been very difficult with the luxury watch industry because of the pricing and brand value. For example another Swiss luxury watch company, Richemont, has decided to buy back their luxury watches from external dealers. This has caused the company 200 million euros profit fall according to the Financial Times.

Mr Guadalupe sees the market differently and says that Hublot would not have to do the same thing than Richemond.

-We know our customers and we track the watches we sell. Hublot has no stock while our production is in line with the demand, he explains.

Hublot´s annual production is about 50.000 units, price range from 6000 – 50.000 euros each and the production site is in Nyon, Switzerland. The average price is 20 000 euros according to the company.

The first smartwatch, Hublot Big Bang Referee

During the BaselWorld2018 Hublot also launched its first smartwatch, operating with Android. This luxury smartwatch is part of the company partnerships with FIFA World Cup now in June in Russia.

-We are thrilled with the feedback from this watch, Hublot Big Bang Referee FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. This is really the first smartwatch for us and it is also seen as the first marketing tool for our FIFA partnership. We have invited about 1000 stakeholders in our FIFA events and we are looking forward for this big event, Mr Guadalupe comments.

The luxury smartwatch industry is very diversified. Apple Watch is the market dominant, but other luxury watchmakers like Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Tag Heuer are also in the markets with their smartwatches. In the LVMH Group, the development of the smartwatches, is being taken care of the internal development unit.This is also the way the Group can have efficient R&D expenditures. 

It is estimated that the global smartwatch sales would exceed 141 million units this year, while the estimates for the last year were 75 million units. In 2016 the sales were 38 million units.

Hublot was the first luxury brand to invest in football and has partnered with football for over 10 years and the company has different brand ambassadors like Pele, Usain Bolt, Dwyane Wade, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Lang Lang.

The company has worked with the luxury car manufacturer Ferrari for many years and according to Mr Guadalupe some kind of connected smartwatch with Ferrari might be one option in the future.. The autonomous, connected cars can have also new innovations for smartwatches.

-When we work with smartwatches, it is good to remember that it is totally different market compared to mechanical watches, which is our core business. But working with wearables we want to show the innovative, unique and piece of art work in our products, he says.

The launched Hublot Big Bang Referee smartwatch enable users to take part in the FIFA game by sending them notifications and live score updates.The company says they have produced 2000 units of this watch so far.

Hublot and sustainability

As part of the LVMH Group, Hublot has also developed tools to track for example the raw materials in the luxury watches. Sustainability is becoming more common and part of the luxury watch industry processes more.

-We use different raw materials like gold, diamonds and titanium in our products. Sustainability means for us that we track the sourcing of the materials as good as possible and want to expand that analysing and recycling also in the future, he explains.

Quality, passion and details

But what does the CEO do at home?

-I am a football fan and therefore it is a pleasure for me to work in collaboration with FIFA. This is a third World Cup for me. And when I am at home, I like to cook. Gastronomy is my hobby as well  You know: it is like watch making: quality, passion and details, he says.

© Päivi Härkönen, ComteamPUB+

Lifestyle Tech

Hublot to launch smartwatch-straps in October

 

The Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, part of the global French luxury group LVMH (MC:FR), is planning to enter the smartwatch industry. According to its CEO Ricardo Guadalupe the company is developing the new fusion in Silicon Valley, California with a software company.

 

  • We are planning to launch it in October this year and the main idea is that we will keep the traditional watch as it is, but we will add the smart part of the watch in the strap. We will operate both with Apple and Android systems, Mr Guadalupe said to pubplus.club during the BaselWorld2017 in Basel, Switzerland.

 

Hublot is one of the few luxury watch companies that has survived the industry downturn with growth figures. According to the company information, Hublot´s revenue growth last year was 4 %, while in the industry the fall was nearly 10 percent.

 

  • The luxury watch industry has suffered from the Chinese economy, but for Hublot this has not been the case, while most of our watches has been bought by customers in Japan, US and Middle East. And our customers value our strategy of fusion, for example we use different kind of materials in our watches, he said.

 

Hublot has developed watches with different kind of material fusions like Carbon and Leather, Titanium and Ceramic and Gold with Textiles (like linen, jeans or also vintage fabric).

 

One of the innovations is also Magic Gold, which is a completely new type of gold developed by Hublot.  An expert fusion of ceramic and liquid gold, 18K Magic Gold must, like all other 18K alloys, be composed of 750 ppm pure gold; but the inclusion of ceramic has made it the world’s first scratch-resistant gold, unlike traditional 18K gold.

 

These innovations and the desire to be near customers through sports and arts have resulted for example the long partnership with Ferrari.

 

Ferrari is celebrating its 70 years this year and Hublot is also launching a new Ferrari watch to celebrate the milestone. This Big Bang Ferrari is one of the Ferrari watches Hublot is making every year. Techframe is a new timepieces presented during Baselworld to tribute to this anniversary and will stand alone next to the Big Bang Ferrari collection.

 

Hublot is based in Nyon, Switzerland and it has 70 boutiques globally. Last year the company opened its New York flagship boutique in the Fifth Avenue.

Päivi Härkönen

 

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe

Ferrari watches by Hublot

Classic Fusion Italia Independent Watch

The Art of Fusion – Magic Gold by Hublot

The final testing of watches

 

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