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Articles from RINGS - GENERAL (890 Articles), WATCHES (859 Articles), GOLD JEWELLERY (686 Articles)










BaselWorld shines on all fronts

Around 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries participated in this year’s BaselWorld event. More than 100,000 visitors from 100 countries attended the massive show and, importantly for the industry, most were smiling. 
The Swiss watch industry must surely be pleased with itself. Not only did BaselWorld 2013 open last Thursday in glorious sunshine, something a little uncommon for the world’s largest watch and jewellery fair, but the event organiser unveiled its redeveloped exhibition halls to wide acclaim. 

François Thiébaud, president of the Swiss exhibitors committee and CEO of Tissot
François Thiébaud, president of the Swiss exhibitors committee and CEO of Tissot
In addition, François Thiébaud, president of the Swiss exhibitors committee and CEO of Tissot, announced a 10.9 per cent increase in Swiss watch exports totaling CHF 21.4 billion (A$22.1bn) in 2012, up from CHF 19.3bn (A$19.9bn) in 2011.

However, the statistics presented to a packed media conference the day before the fair’s opening showed that units declined by 2.2 per cent over the same period. In 2011, 29.8 million units were exported but in 2012 this figure dropped to 29.2 million units.

Redevelopment receives thumbs up
If the fair itself wasn’t so impressive, the 2013 event could well have been remembered for its statistics. MCH Group, the fair organiser, completed the CHF 430 million (A$443m) redevelopment on schedule and, according to CEO René Kamm, on budget.

René Kamm, MCH Group CEO
René Kamm, MCH Group CEO
“After five years of development and planning and three years of construction, we were able to commission the new hall complex in February 2013 - on schedule and on budget. At a cost of CHF 430 million, the new exhibition venue is the largest investment ever made in the Swiss trade show industry. 

“Over 200 contractors were involved in this project; at times over 1,000 people were at work on the construction site,” Kamm explained.

Most exhibitors were pleased with the redevelopment, which takes the exhibition floor space to 141,000 square metres by joining two previously separated halls into one overarching structure.  

More than 1,460 exhibitors from 40 countries participated in this year’s event and organisers expected to increase attendance over last year’s result which exceeded 100,000 visitors from 100 countries.

Other changes
Along with the redevelopment came many other changes to the fair, mostly where exhibitors were located. This resulted in 1,000 new stands and, as anyone who has visited BaselWorld will attest, the stands were already impressive let alone the attempts by the big brands to outdo each other in size and presentation. 

Kamm said the show’s management and the exhibitors’ committee had worked closely to develop a new layout for the event, taking into account the significant growth of watch and jewellery brands, as well as the increased overlap between the various sectors.

More than 3,000 media representatives usually attend the event and that figure was reportedly broken, given that more than 500 Chinese journalists had registered for the show – perhaps an indication of the continuing importance of the Chinese market.

Hong Kong, part of China but ranked separately, retained its title as the biggest global customer for Swiss watches. Hong Kong imported CHF $4.3 billion (A$4.43bn) in Swiss watches in 2012, a 6.8 per cent increase from the previous year. 

However, the Chinese market slowed in 2012, only registering 0.6 per cent increase. Some industry experts suggest that one of the main reasons for this slowdown can be attributed to the Chinese government's clamp down on bribery and corruption, where Swiss watches are often given as expensive gifts to government officials. 

Another reason given is that many Chinese will purchase Swiss watches while travelling, thereby avoiding the higher taxes for luxury goods in China.

The eight-day event closes tomorrow and the July issue of Jeweller will contain a full report. 

baselworld stands

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