Citizen going ahead with its second watch factory
After a delay of a couple months because of the floods in Thailand, Citizen Watch Japan will soon start construction on its 3-billion-yen (Bt1.2 billion) second factory here.
“Despite the floods, we are still quite confident in the potential of Thailand because of its fair and high-quality workers. They also have very good technical knowledge of our watch products,” James Nakai, a director of the company, said yesterday.
The plant, located in Rojana Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya province, will produce watch parts such as outer cases and bands.
When construction of the factory, which had to be redesigned because of the flooding, is completed in two years, 100 per cent of the output will be shipped to Citizen’s factories in the region, including Japan and Hong Kong, he said.
The company’s first factory, called Royal Time Citi, was set up 25 years ago near Don Mueang Airport as a joint venture with local partner C Thong Panich. Citizen Watch later bought out its partner.
The first factory does assembly work and some of the case manufacturing.
“We have lots of factories in Japan for making watch machines and final assembly. We also have factories in South China and Brazil for parts and bracelets,” Nakai said.
About 70 per cent of the total production of Citizen watches will be for export, while 30 per cent will be for local consumption in Japan.
Because of the economic difficulties in Europe, the United States and Japan, all of the company’s sales expectations are in Asia.
“We expect our sales in Asia to increase significantly by 30 to 40 per cent annually.
“Thailand will be one of the potential markets and a shopping destination especially for tourists from China, who have high purchasing power,” Nakai said.
Vipavan Mahadumrongkul, managing director of C Thong Panich, said that because of the floods, the company now expected its sales to increase 12 per cent this year, which is lower than the earlier 20-per-cent target.
“However, we plan for 20-per-cent growth in sales also next year. The target will be achieved if there are no negative factors next year, especially political unrest and flooding,” he said.