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Perfect Timing(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2008)

Zhangzhou Watch Industry

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One of China's leading watch manufacturing centres is continuing to develop and expand in line with industry trends

The watch and clock industry in Zhangzhou has grown into a sophisticated manufacturing sector over the past decade, becoming one of the biggest producers of quartz timepieces on the Chinese mainland.

There are currently approximately 100 companies in Zhangzhou engaged in the watch and clock and related industries, with a total workforce of more than 50,000 people.

The industry boasts a complete production chain ranging from design and development, tooling and injection moulding to spraying and electroplating.

Major products manufactured in the area include quartz analogue movements, watches, wall and alarm clocks, LCD and LED clocks and related accessories such as hands, faces and cases.

These products are well known for their high quality and reasonable prices, with 90% exported to more than 100 countries and regions including Europe, the US, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Zhangzhou's watch exports are worth billions of US dollars, reflecting the fact that the area commands 50% of the worldwide market for quartz analogue movements and 3.1% and 20% respectively of the watch and quartz analogue clock sectors.

The region is also determinedly moving upmarket and is currently producing seven local brands and one export label, all of which depend upon Zhangzhou's high level of technology and R&D capabilities.

Five companies have been selected by Fujian Province and three assigned to assess locally produced quartz analogue movements against international standards.

In addition, 15 companies have gained globally recognised ISO 9001 certification, and a further 30 companies are producing their own patented products.

Timepiece manufacturers in Zhangzhou are becoming more concerned about IPR issues, and some have registered rights for their brands, labels, designs, functionality and innovations.

These manufacturers rely on the latest precision watchmaking technology, including 15 low-speed, wire-cutting machines precise to 0.003mm and several dozen CNC machining centres offering speeds of 40,000 mpr.

In addition, the Zhangzhou industry utilises hundreds of injection-moulding machines, some equipped with servo motors to conserve energy and providing 4-5 times higher precision than ordinary machines.

They also depend upon Zhangzhou Watch Association, which was established in May 2003 with the full support and guidance of the provincial government to develop and promote Zhangzhou's watch and clock industry.

More than 100 companies are members of the association, which acts as a bridge between the government and timepiece manufacturers to advance and develop the industry.

United under the "Taking opportunities, achieving the best" slogan, Zhangzhou's watch and clock industry is keen to expand into international markets and work with overseas partners on product and market development and technology innovation.