In his office, at the headquarters of Hublot, Monsieur Biver expounded on his Africa business.
Monsieur Jean-Claude Biver became the President of LVMH Watch Division in March 2015, where he is the CEO and minority shareholder of Hublot and also CEO of TAG Heuer.
He is known for successfully rejuvenating Blancpain and Omega which are both owned by the Swatch Group. He is also a cheesemaker and produces 5 tons of cheese, annually at his farm in the Swiss Alps. No, the cheese is not for commercial purposes.
Hublot was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Nyon, Switzerland. The Swiss timepiece company has grown rapidly and increased its production by opening its second production facility in Nyon.
Do you have an Africa strategy? How do you select the countries you want to enter?
We want to show our customer that we are at their service. We go where we feel our customers are. We feel that we belong to you the customer.
If they feel that we fit into their lifestyles then we don’t need a salesperson. The sales are already complete. We follow the client to their country and set up home there. Our process is pragmatic. Client leads us.
What are your strongest African markets? Is it mostly driven by male buyers?
Nigeria and Angola are very strong markets for us despite the ongoing challenges. They are our lead markets. In Nigeria our distributor is Polo Luxury and in Angola it is Largo Ferreira do Mara.
Our sales are highly driven by male buyers.
Nigeria is in an economic recession and Angola is also challenged due to the oil prices. How has that affected your business?
It has affected us too. We also feel the stress because as a business we ae very interlinked to these markets and other luxury demands. When art sales go up at Christies that boosts us too. So if sales of luxury brands are going down in the African market due to the current challenges we are affected.
How are your partnerships structured with your distributors?
Our partnerships are very comprehensive. No special requirements. We don’t pretend to understand the local market. There is a crucial need to collaborate and partner with the local people, always. Our human relations are the boost for our partnerships.
How does the Hublot universe work?
In our Hublot universe, king is customer and queen is our product. How do they meet? That is our job as Hublot. They meet through our communication, our stores and our advertisements.