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Taiwan: Q/A with Horizon CEO John Lu

Last Update: July 25th, 2018

Q: How did you get into business with Horizon Yachts?
A: I started after majoring in naval architecture, rather than going into commercial ship design. I chose to go with leisure yachts where I could be more creative and see my achievements in a shorter space of time.

Q: It is often said that company owners need to be completely involved in the business of boatbuilding to realise success. In other words, they need to become owner-drivers of the business. Do you agree?
A: Yes, I do. I’m very passionate about boats, business, and boatbuilding. That has been a key driver for success with Horizon Yachts. You can see this in other companies that have been successful in the leisure boating business, such as Azimut, Ferretti Yachts and Riva in Italy, UK-based Sunseeker, and Gulf Craft/Majesty Yachts in the Middle East. All of these builders started with a passionate founder.


Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome in building high-quality yachts in Taiwan?
A: You saw from the yachts at the 2016 Taiwan show (and will see at the upcoming show in 2018) that Horizon and most other builders in Taiwan have already reached a high level of quality and I believe this is generally recognised by the international industry. However, the challenge in Taiwan is to get more brand recognition for Taiwan boatbuilders. To achieve this, customers have to see and touch the boats and this will take time.
A yacht is not the same type of product as a mobile phone, where manufacturers in South Korea, China and Taiwan have achieved global brand recognition in less than 10 years.

“Challenges continue to lie ahead, but our spirit and our pursuit of excellence will lead the way,”
says Horizon CEO John Lu


Q: How is the market in Taiwan di erent to the rest of Asia, especially China?
A: There is a big di erence. There is pent-up demand in Taiwan which is just being realised and there is an amazing interest in leisure boating. People are curious, and being island-based I think boating will grow at the bottom of the size range; unlike China, where larger boats predominate the entry market for status reasons. In China many people do not live near the sea, which makes identifying with the boating culture more di cult.

Q: The world is an unstable place at the moment, with the UK planning to leave the EU and mass immigration from countries a ected by war and terrorism. In other areas, oil-producing countries have been hit by low oil prices. What are your feelings about the global yachting business?
A: We have to accept these problems; they are threats that we can’t do anything about. However, I always look on the bright side. It’s cyclical. When one market is down, others are up. Currently I’m optimistic about the market in the US, where we are doing well, but I’m also optimistic about the growth of the market in Taiwan.
We have to be active in several markets in order to spread our risk. Ten years ago the best market was Europe, but now it’s the US. In every downturn there is an opportunity. Horizon’s product range is still popular and our branding power is stronger than ever before. Many people recognise us and realise that we are very capable of creating tailor-made boats.

Q: How was busines for Horizon in late 2017?
A: At the 2017 Cannes show we debuted Hull No 2 of the Horizon FD85 – which has been tailored for European clients – with a unique exterior styling, incredible interior volume and innovative features. Europe is a leading market in the global yachting industry, especially for new products. We were pleased to see such a positive reception for the FD85 at the Cannes show and we will continue to exhibit at key European boat shows, and with more new models in 2018. Horizon has reached its 30th anniversary milestone and we look forward to the future. Certainly, challenges continue to lie ahead, but our spirit and our pursuit of excellence will lead the way. In addition to expanding Horizon’s development in the global yacht market and creating more suitable yacht models to meet owners’ yachting needs, we will strengthen Horizon’s global sales and marketing channels and expand Horizon’s brand share. Additionally, we plan to establish aftersales service centres around the world to provide a full range of services that allow our owners to continue enjoying the ultimate yachting experience. Today, and in the future, the Horizon brand will not only represent a luxury yacht, but a way of life.

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Taiwan International Boat Show
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About the author


Norberto Moreau is co-founder of the Allied Management Ltd Consulting Group (Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Spain). The group and his associates have activities in Yachting, Properties, Events and Online Services.
Activity with own Projects (70%) / Consulting (30%). Norberto Moreau is available for Consulting worldwide at Fairs, Regattas etc.

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