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Focus on Integrity in Business Affirm Your Personal Value Have the Courage to Explore Define Your Horizon

President’s Note Embracing New Challenges and Building for the Future

Chapter One The Beginning  A Dream that Began in an Empty, Dusty Factory

6 8 10 24

Chapter Two Transformation  and Performance


Chapter Three Value Creation A Financial Crisis Spurs Change and a New Operational Vision 

Chapter Four A Journey of Branding  From Contract Manufacturing to Global Branding

46 48 60 62

Four Policies to Ensure Horizon's Success for the Next Thirty Years 

76 78

Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship  The Spirit of Horizon - Striving for Excellence

88 90

Chapter Five Envisioning the Future 

The Development of Horizon Group


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved 

114 116 124 132

Horizon Group's 30th Anniversary Celebrations  2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous In the Words of Horizon Friends


Group Management Promotes Interdepartmental Strength

President’s Note

Embracing New Challenges and Building for the Future


he word “horizon” inspired me when I first named the company. For voyagers, the horizon is the focus, the ship’s target. It also symbolizes the

future – bright and full of hope. To this day, this name still carries the same meaning; the horizon continues to lead us forward. In today’s fast-paced world, no one has a crystal ball to predict the future.

Moving forward often comes with unknown risks that must be faced with passion and courage. When I prepare for the future, I look back on the role that Horizon has played, and continues to play, in the shifting perspective between Taiwan, China and the global yachting industry. If we were completely risk averse and stayed in our comfort zone without setting goals beyond the horizon, this company would face a slow decline. Thus, we continue to have the courage and faith to embrace the next challenge, which gives us the energy and momentum for the future!


Over the last 30 years, Horizon has faced numerous challenges, from the NTD currency appreciation, oil crisis, shrinking market and employee shortage, to the struggle and conflicts of group integration, order cancellations due to the financial crisis, and the disappearance of distribution channels. The company’s tagline “Define Your Horizon” originally meant that we build custom yachts for our customers. But it also embodies a deeper meaning, one that is a core philosophy of our company: that we are the “master of our own future.” Over these three decades, Horizon has invested many resources in talent cultivation, facility expansion, manufacturing specialization, information integration, value creation, branding, sales channels management, and much more. There is a phrase in the Taiwanese dialect that translates to: “One step, one footprint.” At Horizon, we move step by step, facing and overcoming each challenge and leaving the footprint and reputation of an established, well respected brand in the global market. Building and selling yachts requires intense cooperation and the integration of many resources. Delivering a yacht to her owner is like a carefully orchestrated play, performed before a paying audience. I have to thank many people, including our supportive stockholders, suppliers, dealers and every employee in the group, for making the performance of Horizon’s 30-year history so successful. I sincerely look forward to everyone in this company working and striving together to create the next successful 30-year chapter for Horizon.

John Lu CEO of Horizon Group

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

During the belle ĂŠpoque of yacht building in Taiwan, Horizon Yachts began an entrepreneurial journey.


Chapter One

The Beginning


Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

A Dream that Began in an Empty, Dusty Factory…


usty in sunny days and muddy in rainy days, the 219,000 sqft factory that Horizon Yachts acquired from Xian Qi Yacht Company was too large for the few workers it

employed. So, Horizon rented part of it to a wood factory for timber storage and rented out another area for fertilizer storage. Those early images are hardly recognizable in comparison to the beautiful, modern facilities that comprise Horizon Yachts today, but this is where the Horizon story begins. Let’s travel back thirty years, to a time when Taiwan's yacht building industry was

flourishing. Almost every few months a new shipyard would open its doors – there were nearly one hundred in Kaohsiung alone. Recalling this era of idealism, Horizon CEO John Lu said, “At that time, it seemed like anyone could open a yacht factory. The requirements to do so were minimal. A factory could open with only a few site foremen or engineers. Investing in lots of machinery and equipment was not important. You could easily be the owner of a shipyard if you could find willing labor.”

Acquired from Xian Qi Yacht Company, the Horizon shipyard in 1987 (left) is where the Horizon Yachts story begins. Over decades of evolution, the site has transformed into a modern facility (middle and right).


Shang-jie Gong (left), Shun-hui Cheng (middle), and John Lu (right) are the founders of Horizon Yachts. Their encouragement and support nurtured the company into its current success.

Thirty years ago, John was a student at the Department of Naval Architecture at the National Taiwan Ocean University, but he had already become involved in the yachting industry. He started as an intern and quickly progressed to the position of chief engineer at Kha Shing Entreprise Co. Ltd., also known as Monte Fino Yachts. When he left Kha Shing, he spent a year working as a surveyor. Despite the comfortable position, John chose to embark on a more difficult and challenging path with the encouragement and support of his former employers, Shang-jie Gong and Shun-hui Cheng.

When Horizon began, it employed a ragtag team of young contractors and friends from Penghu John Lu always had a passion for entrepreneurship. He describes his younger self as a “blind man unafraid of guns.” Along with his former bosses, John purchased the 219,000 sqft parcel of foreclosed land right next door to the Kha Shing shipyard. Then, in 1987, he founded Horizon Yachts and became what he so dearly wanted to be: a young entrepreneur. When the new factory opened, it seemed inevitable that John would become an onsite jack-of-all-trades. There were endless jobs to complete. He persuaded a young, undervalued contractor from the Kha Shing shipyard who was largely responsible for cabin work at that time to join his team. This was Leo Chuang, who is now the associate general manager of Horizon Yachts. Leo recruited a few friends from Penghu to make up Horizon’s first shipwright crew. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

The people who gave it their all from the beginning contributed so much to Horizon’s achievements. Some would say John had a keen eye to find such an excellent worker as Leo. John knew Leo from a project for Vista Yacht Company that they had worked on together, but this was not the only reason he had recruited him. John has joked that it was because Leo was much easier to recruit than other candidates. When John recalls the birth of the company, he can’t help but think about how absurd everything was at that time. Back then no one, including himself, had any experience or familiarity with what needed to be done. Leo has said, “I did not understand how to present a new yacht for the customer’s inspection before he took possession of it, but my only option was to figure it out. If I didn’t learn how to do it, nobody would have. That’s how I trained myself, with on-the-job experience.” John described those early days as disordered, where no one seemed to be prepared for what it was they were attempting. He said, “We hadn’t even figured out the state of our newly-wrought business, but within a few short months we suddenly started building yachts.” Leo still remembers the first yacht that he built at Horizon. The hull came from the Kha Shing shipyard next door, and everything was incredibly disorganized.

It was a time that the orders flowed like water, and Horizon became a pioneer in calculating cost structures

In the early days, the yacht molds were hand-made and ranged in size from 40 to 65ft.


In 1987, business was booming and orders were plentiful. John Lu (right) and Leo Chuang (left) frequently discussed the improvement of shipyard processes.

Those early days are not too difficult to imagine. Back then, Taiwan's yacht industry was booming, and the influx of new orders seemed endless. Everyone involved was young, around thirty years of age, and had energy and enthusiasm to spare. Their youthful hearts were fearless with regards to the future and the enormous effort required to build yachts hardly even fazed them. Leo remembers the shipyard being brightly lit and filled with voices during the night. Food vendors surrounding the shipyard would often run out of food. Leo said, "My record for continuous time spent at the shipyard was three days. Every day I felt as if I was working overtime non-stop.” John was doing the same, often staying in the shipyard to meet deadlines. "I remember bugs crawling over my face as I slept," John said with a laugh. There were many things that sustained the yacht business. At that time Taiwan’s yacht industry was comprised of nearly a hundred shipyards. Horizon was a fledgling company and was usually classified as a subsidiary shipyard of Kha Shing. But John was already drawing up a blueprint that would detail the company’s rise to power. Leo remembers that when he worked overtime, John would always talk about his plans Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

The smallest model back then was the 33ft “Gold Wing” and the mold was provided by the client.

The first 44ft model, developed and designed by Horizon 28 years ago, is still active and berthed at a marina in Japan.

and goals. He was humble and often said, “This is not a dream. This is us living the dream.” Those fortunate enough to be around him witnessed him fulfilling his dream - he seemed to have the ability to shorten the gap between dream and reality. Before Horizon Yachts was established, John was already familiar with the president of marine hardware manufacturer Aritex Products Co., Ltd., Mark Tseng. He was one of those who witnessed John making the impossible possible. Mark Tseng has said bluntly that he thought John’s goal was impossible to achieve. Take the difficulty of managing the costs of building yachts as an example. Mark said, “There isn’t any shipyard in Taiwan that could have accurately determined the cost of building a yacht, since cost structure is much too complicated to calculate.” However, on a daily basis John would collect all the information and accurately calculate the cost of the previous day’s construction. Mark Tseng said that he was quite surprised. Each period of reformation in Horizon’s history has proven that John isn’t just a person who dreams; he is someone who implements ideas and makes his dream a reality.


British yacht owner Alec Hammond (left in the left photo, and the second to the right in the right photo) has been supporting Horizon since its establishment and remains a loyal client to this day.

Foreign currency, disappearing sales, and constant rumors of bankruptcy Before a dream can be realized, one will inevitably encounter a few twists and turns. Two or three years after Horizon was established, the first great shock hit the company. Horizon was making progress and everything was going well when, without warning, the Taiwanese dollar dropped from a rate of 40 to 1 to a rate of 25 to 1 against the U.S. Dollar. This meant that the cost for customers who bought yachts increased by as much as 40% overnight. It severely impacted the competitive advantage that Taiwan enjoyed, namely that Taiwanese yachts were more economical for overseas buyers. In addition, the United States began to levy a luxury tax on yachts in the U.S. It was like adding fuel to the fire and the result was that, one by one, the customers stopped buying. At that time, 99% of orders received by Taiwan's shipyards were from the United States. It was not difficult to imagine the dreadful state the yacht industry plunged into when these orders were summarily canceled.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

This marked the end of the golden era of endless orders and boundless shipyards. Like a roller coaster, Taiwan’s yacht building industry plummeted from hundreds of companies to less than thirty within three to five years, as the majority went bankrupt or simply shut their doors. Looking back on that period, even someone like John, a man of indomitable will, appeared vulnerable. "It was depressing. I was only thirty years old then." At this young age, he faced his first major disappointment. Lost sales flowed like sand through his fingers. To add insult to injury, rumors that Horizon’s demise was eminent were spreading like wildfire. For John, this was almost too much to bear. Adela Jaw, the executive assistant to Horizon Group’s CEO, stated, “When I joined Horizon in 1990, I did not know whether the company was viable or not. It was years later that another colleague, who had joined Horizon at the same time I did, told me that when he first started working at the company, someone had warned him that Horizon was going to go bankrupt. He asked if I was still sure if I wanted to stay with Horizon. To curb the rumors and their effect on morale, John proceeded to post announcements in the yard that stated that he would crack down on rumor-mongers.” John has never denied that he discussed the option to close the company or to merge with Kha Shing. However, he also emphasized the fact that, compared to other competitors, Horizon had virtually no debt to speak of. The scary part was that the market at that time was rapidly shrinking. Everyone felt as if the future was completely uncertain. “Horizon almost disappeared,” John mused.


This 58ft yacht (left), with the hull designed by John Lu and the exterior designed by Swedish designer John Lindblom, was the most successful yacht design to be exported to Europe at the time. The model was developed into the successful E62 model (right).

The 44ft Horizon Venture was the first yacht to be named after Horizon. The classic wooden interior design was the preferred style of owner Alec Hammond.

A last-ditch effort: The attempt to make a mark in Europe After much deliberation, John and the other co-founders decided to give Horizon another try. In John’s mind, he knew that if the company merely waited for orders to come from the United States, its days were almost certainly numbered. Since its original source of business had been cut off, the company had to change direction and restructure itself. For John, it was do-or-die. He said, “I started to approach things on a trial-and-error basis at that time. I got better at it, and I felt luckier. The attempt to start again just felt right.�

John Lindblohm (left and second to the left in the right photo) has cooperated with Horizon on the designs of many classic models for over 20 years.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

The first idea that surfaced in his mind was, “If the U.S. doesn't work, then perhaps Europe might.” However, he didn't even know where to start. “Entering the European market was not as easy as hopping on a plane and just knocking on someone’s door.” They had to take baby steps. At first, John tried finding European dealers to help Horizon expand into the European market. He also The German dealer Eichinger (left) was the first formal Horizon Yachts partner.

knew he had to create European designs to match the European boating lifestyle. The most important step was to hire a European designer to create a new ship model for Horizon that fit the needs of European customers. Because he firmly believed that Horizon was worth one last shot, John proceeded to set in motion the first pivot Horizon had undergone since its inception. Moving from America to Europe was like

Maintaining a good relationship with clients and dealers has always been a core value for Horizon.

leaving a familiar world and entering a completely different one. John pointed out the two greatest changes. The first was that their yachts had to adopt a European style. The second was that the yachts needed to have a greater sense of completeness and increased value. At first, they had no idea how to conduct business in Europe, since Horizon, like so many other Taiwanese shipyards, had only focused on either the American market or being an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

The European dealer Ron Boogaard (left) established a deep relationship with Horizon and has been cooperating with the company for decades.

Speaking frankly, John said, “We didn't really think that the shipyard would have the resources to expand into this new market.” But there was no other option. Most of their time was spent waiting for customers to come, and desperately trying to hold on to existing orders.


Behind the scenes, John was also grappling with a situation that challenged both him and Horizon, and ultimately changed the company’s path forward.

Extreme effort and a customer’s disappointment When the yacht industry went under, Taiwan's supply chain partner introduced Horizon to the owner of a British automobile component factory, Alec Hammond, who had come to Taiwan to purchase a yacht. “On that day, a customer from Tainan brought him in and said he wanted to buy a yacht,” John recalls. He remembers that there was only one 40ft mold in the Horizon shipyard, but that Alec wanted a bigger one. “When he said he wanted something bigger, we all said yes!” The desire for the order was palpable. Because this order was immensely important during this time when Horizon was undergoing major changes and was particularly vulnerable, John convened his cadre of workers and shipwrights. He proceeded to deliver a motivational speech for the ages, announcing the start of possibly the most crucial project they have ever faced, and went on to state, “We have to do well, because this is the European order we have been waiting for. Our salvation is at hand!" From a technical standpoint, this couldn't be classified as a large-scale project, but John and his shipwrights decided to use the newest materials and only those workers with topof-the-line skills to build it. They even gave up Taiwan's quality crafted carpentry, and replaced the new yacht’s kitchen cabinets with more modern Boeing film. Everyone at Horizon took great pains to work on this project and fully expected to see Alec’s gleeful expression when he looked upon his new yacht. Conversely, no one expected that all their extra effort meant that they had overworked the project past the owner’s desires. As it turned out, Alec was disappointed with the final product’s interior décor. “It was like throwing a wet blanket on us,” John said. He admitted that it made everyone quite depressed for a while. Alec stressed that he wanted the interior of the yacht to have a more traditional wooden texture in place of a modern look. Horizon had no choice but to brace for a complete renovation. If these changes had to be completed, one-third of the interior would have to be stripped and redone. But, after deliberating with the major shareholders, John announced that the final decision was to build a completely new yacht for Alec.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

Some viewed it as a miserable failure, but John eventually came to describe Alec as his lucky star. The deserted yacht originally meant for Alec was left in the shipyard, where it’s more modern design unexpectedly drew the attention of Japanese and German dealers and even attracted several Hong Kong buyers. John said, “Because of that yacht, we received several orders, one after another. During a period of recession, this felt like a godsend.”

A deep cut The story had not played itself out yet. After Alec’s new yacht was delivered, everything seemed to be going smoothly for a few months. This was until the day that Horizon's broadcast system suddenly issued a notification, which required John to personally answer an international call. When he picked up the phone he heard a message from Alec, “John, the boat has sunk.” Alec narrated that the boat had struck something, and he had looked from above at his yacht sinking into the sea as he was being airlifted to safety by a rescue helicopter. He described how the navigation light on the yacht was still shining as it sank underwater. Then he said with deadpan British humor, “Dammit! I forgot to turn off the battery.” Yet the joke didn't even manage to squeeze the ghost of a smile from John. Of course, Horizon never expected to encounter such a disaster so soon after it had started operation. “This was, quite frankly, like an apocalyptic bolt from the blue,” John said. His biggest concern was that once the news got out, the shipyard would probably close. For a long time after, when the public was still not quite clear on the situation, John was locked in a state of anxiety.

Always a head-turner, Horizon yachts en route to a boat show.


He remembered what Alec had told him about his final voyage, when the hull hit an object right before sinking. John took a flashlight and went to study the bottom of the salvaged yacht alone in the dark while everyone else was off work. Unfortunately, he cut himself with a tool during the investigation. “It bit deep,” he said. “So deep that a layer of fat was visible within the wound.” During an interview, he reached out and displayed his hand, showing the three stitches that he received at the hospital. “This is what I like to call Horizon's first blood,” he said with a smile.

Proof is obtained that the shipwreck was accidental, and new orders from Europe materialize Distressed, John returned from the hospital, consumed by the incident. He decided to return to the site again and again until he had mapped the yacht’s structure. During this time, his misery deepened. John, who is always described as unconquerable by anyone who knows him, suddenly found himself at the most vulnerable point in his life. In his mind, he even doubted whether he was cut out to make it in the yacht industry. Fortunately, after months of travail, the investigation into the shipwreck confirmed that it was an accident – the result of the yacht striking a container adrift in the ocean. The insurance company claims were filed, and Horizon continued receiving new orders. There is an adage that reads: “One who survives a serious accident is fated to become blessed later in life.” Horizon’s greatest strength has come from challenges like the sinking of Alec’s yacht. Should a crisis arise again, the company would be able to handle and grow from it, as they are always one step ahead. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter One The Beginning

After Alec's incident ended agreeably, new dealers – Eichinger from Germany, Yaretti from Austria, Best Yacht from Italty, and Lengers from the Netherlands – joined the Horizon sales team. The new orders from European customers more than made up for the shrinking North American market. Another opportunity to further expand into the European market came when the yacht dealer Drettmann came to Taiwan to find an OEM. Thus, where yacht sales were concerned, Horizon became Taiwan’s major sales representative to Europe. “At that time,” recalls John, “Drettmann came to Taiwan for a tour. As it happened, they eventually settled on Horizon to meet their needs.” John still believes that the yachts from Taiwan’s other shipyards were not of bad quality. The only distinction that Horizon held was that they had already considered entering the European market before Drettmann came. Horizon had attempted to design a yacht for the European market, and this was noticed by Drettmann. In contrast, most of the other shipyards at the time still maintained American-style yacht designs. “This must have been what impressed Drettmann. Along with a bit of luck, Horizon managed to surpass 90% of its competition,” John said with a smile.

Horizon earns praises from partners and puts its plans into motion This was not accidental. Alice Hsing, the director of Kha Yow International Co., Ltd., who has cooperated with Horizon for more than twenty years, recalls that when everyone was still making yachts below 50ft, Horizon, in addition to building custom vessels, was already making yachts of 50ft and larger. Horizon was starting to outpace its competitors. “We were impressed with their diligent work ethic; Horizon seemed to always be on track to attain their goals and successfully implement their plans,” Xing said. Drettmann did not merely remain a supporter that ensured Horizon’s survival, but quickly became a source of continuous growth as yacht sales steadily increased. John exclaimed, “Drettmann’s German branch really knew how to sell a yacht!” He obviously admired them very much and believed that without their support Horizon could never have understood European’s unique cultural identity nor fully met the needs of the European market.


During the whole process of entering the European market, he was also studying European history and learning, through observation, the unique European culture. For instance, he had to attempt to comprehend the reason why European yachts all had relatively small dayheads, larger master staterooms, and a focus on sophisticated designs– a departure from American clients who preferred larger, more spacious rooms and storage areas everywhere on the yacht. Of course, any transformation can’t simply come about within a single day. Recalling the days they plumbed the European market, John acknowledges that most of his memories are bittersweet. “The first time I went abroad, I seemed to be heavier in weight, but when I came back I wasn’t even aware of how many pounds I had lost,” said John. “Leo, for instance, dislikes the smell of cheese, so every time he entered a restaurant, he had to hold his breath to curb his nausea. After all, pizza is a very common food in Europe. Leo describes it as the most unpalatable thing in the universe.” Later, it seemed Leo solved this problem by bringing instant noodles along when he travelled abroad. At a time when many of the world’s cultures were beginning to discover one another, cultural differences were striking. John and Leo recalled a trip a group of them took to Sweden. Surrounded by blonde Swedes, the group and their dark black hair drew a lot of attention. One night, they were invited to a customer’s home. They got lost, and ended up accidentally breaking into a neighbor’s house. The neighbor took a shotgun and pointed it at them, asking who they were looking for. They can joke about this now, but back then they were frightened out of their minds, in unfamiliar territory. Eventually, Horizon survived the downturn. Along with the gradual progress they achieved in the European market, the company entered a critical twelve-year period of rapid growth and expansion.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Horizon becomes the only yacht group in Asia to implement the professional division of its yards, comprising Horizon Shipyard, Vision Shipyard, Premier Shipyard, and Atech Composites, spanning over one million square feet.


Chapter Two



Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Group Management Promotes Interdepartmental Strength and Performance


e have been a bit lucky, since we have always been one step ahead of our competitors,” John said. Even though Horizon was not the first shipyard to

take European orders, it pioneered Taiwan’s shift in market focus to Europe. “At that time, Horizon was one of the sole Taiwanese shipyards with sixty to seventy percent of its revenue coming from Europe,” John said proudly. Horizon’s revenue continued to grow year by year. “This has been our biggest step so

far, but it’s only the beginning for our group,” John said. Those early days of burning the midnight oil in the shipyard seems like only yesterday. Vic Wang, an electrician at Horizon, remembers that when business was going well, he often needed to go to work before 8 a.m. and frequently ended up staying until 10 p.m. “When we worked hard to meet our deadlines, we all joked that we should just live in the yard and make it our permanent home.”

During the period of abundant orders, the shipyard was ablaze with lights as craftsmen worked overtime at night.


Loading a container ship on the Rhine River during the Düsseldorf Boat Show is a normal winter scene.

Despite a strong order book, Horizon worked to stay ahead of the curve Although the booming business made everyone happy, John was not a person easily distracted by success. When he saw the demand for productivity growing and the scale of the company increasing, he started to flex his business acumen. He immediately started thinking of how the company could further elevate itself. John often describes himself as a lone wolf. When Taiwanese factories suddenly started moving to China in pursuit of lower manufacturing costs, John’s reaction was not to follow the trend, but to remain in Taiwan at the risk of having to pay higher production costs. John believed that the core competitiveness of the yachting industry did not depend entirely on cost mitigation, but rather a yacht’s added value. At the same time, he asked himself a difficult question: “How can we come up with something that puts time on our side?” Eventually, he came up with an answer. Many people believe that any leading enterprise should rely on the advantages offered by technology and design. This allows a company to build a competitive threshold, and as it turns out, Horizon held such an advantage. “Look at the Horizon hulls. They’re really tough,” said Cheng-dong Chen, the CEO of Chen’s Tempered Glass Co., Ltd., who was impressed with Horizon from the moment he began doing business with them. “The hulls are so well-made and very durable,” he said. “The material they use is just better, and

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

After 30 years of progress and transformation, Horizon Yachts is widely known in the global market.

their service is far superior to that of other yacht manufacturers. If you compare Horizon’s yachts with those of their competitors, you will definitely end up buying a Horizon yacht.” Cheng-dong Chen stressed that he did not say this because of his friendship with John. “We are technicians. We don’t lie,” he stated. Chen remembers the first time John came to him and asked him to produce some curved laminated glass for the shipyard. “It was a dreadful product to develop, because with each one you make you also end up breaking one,” he recalls. It took two months to make just two pieces of glass for one yacht. Chen continued, “At that time, John would sit and wait for us, with only a lunch box to keep him company. What a dedicated entrepreneur he was, what a visionary.” Eventually, they successfully developed the curved laminated glass. Soon, companies from China were desperate to buy it, and the Japanese ardently wanted to learn how to make it.


Mercury Liu, the president of Mercury Marine Supply Co., Ltd., also expressed his admiration for Horizon’s research and development capabilities. “Other shipyards would consider the cost and be unwilling to hire that many R&D personnel,” he said. Horizon, on the other hand, would hire between twenty and thirty researchers for their R&D team, most of them elite students.

Integration becomes the key to success In terms of technological advantages, John knew that changes in the industry would occur rapidly, because of the open flow of information. He knew that management who relied only on the current technology and design threshold wouldn’t survive, and he knew that money alone wouldn’t solve the problem of continued technological innovation. He also knew that his best talent could be poached by forward-thinking competitors. “Taking these facts into account, technological advantages alone can’t ensure that time will remain on our side,” John concluded. The best way John could think of getting an answer was by reviewing everything pertaining to the yachting industry. He asked himself, “What is the main feature of this industry?” Eventually he found an answer. He called it “the integration industry.” John admitted that he coined this term to refer to the process by which a yacht is constructed from nothing into a complete product. Within a limited span of time, raw materials,

Horizon’s sophisticated craftsmanship has been passed down from generation to generation.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Company activities promote team building and a sense of pride for employees.

designs and labor must be integrated to produce a finished product. The pros, cons, speed and capabilities of this integration system directly reflect a yard’s competitiveness. In other words, when you have a shipyard, technology, and human resources, and if you can manage to integrate all the elements better than most, then and only then can you produce a winning product. “I think the best thing that Horizon has done is to clearly understand the traits of this industry,� John said. During the practical application of this process, John found the act of integration to be an extremely intricate technique. The process is one where the competitors know what you are doing, but have no corresponding ability to imitate this technique. Because of this, the goal of improving integration is something that became more important to John than anything else. This was the time when Horizon started to transform itself from a small shipyard into a larger one. When the amount of orders increased, it was quite difficult for everyone to


complete all the tasks a shipyard of that size required. If changes weren’t made, the sheer capacity of incoming orders would create a massive bottleneck that would effectively stifle Horizon’s growth. In addition to comprehending the process of integration in the yachting industry, the concept of specialized division of labor began to emerge. This led to the seeds of an idea that began to germinate in John’s mind: grouping.

Composites Manufacturing: The body of a carbon fiber race car (left). The front panel of an FRP rail car, manufactured officially for Taiwan (right).

The design and build of a composite Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a 40ft wingspan.

Perfecting the single-infusion process of a yacht hull and large-scale FRP components. Atech Composites, the o n l y A si a n y a rd ce rt i f i e d to build high-altitude GL wind turbine blades, built Taiwan’s largest 2MW wind turbine blades.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

To implement the system of grouping was easier said than done. But John was determined and was focused on one thing: specialization and cooperation within the group. “This had never been done in Taiwan’s yacht industry before. This system is also quite difficult for most people to understand. Not everyone approved of it,” he admitted.

Independent departments create growth through professional division of labor At that time, the main point of contention was concern about the disempowerment of the managerial department. Since each department of the company would effectively transform into a separate company, in the eyes of some people this action became synonymous with infringement on workers’ rights. “To be completely honest, I was furious,” said Leo Chuang. “How could the company that everyone fought for so hard suddenly be divided, as if we were partitioning property?” Years afterwards, whenever someone mentioned this event, Leo still felt his blood start to boil. Since Horizon’s founding, Leo has always been the most ardent supporter of John’s vision and philosophy. This time, however, he simply couldn’t understand and accept the concept of grouping. Even so, John remained firm in his resolve. “I would always respect my employees’ opinions, but my mind was made up,” he said. Through continuous communication, he hoped that everyone would come to change their positions and observe the groups of the

The R&D department often consults with other departments before creating the mold for a new model.


In 2005, Horizon was the first company in Taiwan to purchase a 5-Axis CNC machine, which vastly improved cutting efficiency and precision.

company from an elevated perspective. In fact, John believed that after the company was divided, the head of each department would be able to manage personnel on a larger scale more easily. Managers would be less overworked, would become energized, and overall efficiency would be much higher. A director of a shipyard must understand and control the many different phases of production, including fields such as FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastics), mechanical and electrical engineering, and carpentry. When Horizon individualized the FRP business by creating Atech Composites, Atech Composites then became Horizon’s supplier. Therefore, the business of FRP was no longer Horizon’s responsibility. At the same time, the sudden gap left by the departing FRP workers meant that more hull assembly staff could be hired at the shipyard. The production capacity could also be increased. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Horizon Group CNC Tooling Center

Horizon Shipyard Since 1987

452,080 sqft

Interior Design Center

Atech Composites

2000 249,070 sqft Since

Composites Lab

Vision Shipyard

2001 161,460 sqft Since

Atech Technology Display Center

Premier Shipyard

2005 258,330 sqft


Horizon City Marina Since 2014 Accommodating yachts from 40ft (12M) to 200ft (60M)


Delivery Center

Refit Center

“After thinking about it, it kind of made sense. If we followed this system, the company could expand,” Leo conceded.

The independence of Atech Composites leads to new business Horizon began implementing grouping in 2000, and Atech Composites, at that time largely responsible for the yacht hulls and other related parts, became its first independent company. John thinks that this is an example of the value that customers usually can’t perceive, but is integral to Horizon’s business. The reason for setting up Atech Composites first was not only to divide the professional labor mentioned earlier, but also to fulfill the potential and the extended development of this division. Atech Composites’ potential market included all things that can fly (the aerospace industry), that can move on the ground (the automobile industry), as well as things traveling on water (the shipbuilding industry), and even forms of transport that utilize green energy. They are, therefore, not only limited to shipbuilding. Today, the interdisciplinary results and professional FRP and technical effects that Atech Composites boast have ensured that they are a leader in Taiwan's complex manufacturing industry. In the past, FRP work was considered the least respected level of labor in a shipyard. By incorporating technology and expanding their range of services, Atech Composites has transformed itself into a leading company. This proves yet again that the correct timing of a decision to expand is a crucial aspect of success. Chris Chen, the manager of the business and engineering department at Atech Composites, said, “We have proven that Atech Composites does not only do the Group’s business.” Because of the resources from Horizon Group, Atech Composites is now able to complete world-class orders. They have even participated in projects encouraged by the Taiwanese government, such as endeavors that promote the nationalization of Taiwanese products. “We have achieved numerous No. 1 records in Taiwan,” Chris said proudly. “I am glad that Atech Composites became independent,” said John. “If I never made the decision to enfranchise them, we would still be building yachts, but the technology in that area would not be progressing. We would never have projects involving race cars. There

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Horizon Yachts has increased its production area to five times larger than its beginnings. The factory and offices have been refurbished through the years to stay modern and current.

would be no knowledge gained of wind turbine blades or unmanned aerial vehicles for the national defense industry.” Although Atech Composites does not always succeed at every project and their endeavors do not always yield immediate benefits, John believes that the accumulated experience gained brings long-term value to the company, in addition to ridding them of the problem of a destructive price-war. In his opinion, the value gained from experience means that failure can indeed become a learning opportunity. Keith Chen, the administration manager at Atech Composites, is also one of the members who joined Atech during its inception. John’s bold actions had made a big impression on him. “I had completed seven or eight yacht designs, including things such as solar ships. They were all new, but not always guaranteed to be successful,” said Keith. With John’s full support, Keith and the Atech team could boldly explore different avenues without fear of failure. “You won’t be blamed for doing the wrong things, but if you don’t try to do new things, you will never progress,” he said.

Five years of slow and steady growth Many perceive Horizon as having a bold, innovative attitude. Mercury Liu said, “Frankly, many companies are self-contained, but Horizon welcomes outside influences openly.”


Cheng-dong Chen also stated that, “Horizon has been changing and has been making progress consistently.” John’s passion for innovation and his attitude of being fearless in the face of failure has helped Horizon prepare for facing challenges and overcoming crises. Keith Chen recalls a time when craftsmen who were highly skilled in molding were retiring one by one, and it was difficult to find replacement workers. The company spared no expense in finding a solution. They purchased a 5-Axis CNC Machine, measuring over 100 feet in length, which boasted an accuracy of 0.05mm when it came to engraving. These machines could even engrave something the size of a bus! With them Horizon established its own molding center. John remembers that to buy such a machine at that time, he needed permission from the U.S. Department of Defense. It required not only spending more than one million U.S. dollars on the machine, but also an additional 100 million dollars to build a factory to meet the requirements of high seismic structures. At that time, the decision to open this molding factory probably left a lot of people stunned. However, ten years has passed, and there is no one who isn’t impressed by this bold decision. John followed up the establishment of Atech Composites with the founding of Vision Shipyard, which was charged with building small and medium-sized yachts; the Premier Shipyard, a CNC tooling center, and Systematic Furniture Limited, as well as setting up the Group Management Center. It took about five years to establish everything and for the Horizon Group to gradually take shape. “I think the trust that I gained from the staff is quite substantial. It also proved that what I said was correct,” John stated in a voice filled with gratitude. Keith Chen says that after the company transformed into the Horizon Group, the job that each person was responsible for could be done in greater depth and detail. Although the existence of the Group meant that one must go through more levels of communication, the different departments are now mostly independent. However, they all still share the same cultural base, and because of this a lot of problems can be avoided.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Increasing revenue revealed that Horizon Group had made the right move in 2005. By 2008, revenue had doubled and the company was exporting 54 yachts with an average length of 74ft. While the company was growing rapidly, John was trying, step-by-step, to build and instill the proper attitude of an international shipyard and to establish a corporate culture unique to Horizon.

No more dust: The shipyard undergoes a facelift “Thinking back on those early days, I still can’t believe the conditions we worked in,” John said while sitting in Horizon’s conference room, looking out at the clean and tidy shipyard through the window. Twenty years earlier, the image through that window would have been reminiscent of a dirty, disorganized factory. Leo Chuang remembers that the yard was full of trash, from discarded boards to pipes and every other kind of debris. Everyone just stepped around and worked on the debris. It was commonplace not only at

Ya c h t c o n s t r u c t i o n i s a detailed process that involves the integration of many departments. Ten years ago, Horizon began developing an internal IT system that standardized and integrated the complicated details of yacht construction into a comprehensive information and tracking system. The userfriendly operating interface design allows instant access to construction status reports to reduce process errors and to greatly enhance management efficiency.


Horizon but also throughout many of Taiwan’s yards. Leo says it just didn’t feel strange at the time. John was embarrassed. “When I think back on that time, I have to admit things looked kind of slovenly. Yachts are ocean villas worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Ironically, our company built these high-end products and yet we worked in shoddy conditions.” He continued, “You wouldn’t even want to know how many orders we lost due to the messiness of the site.” The reactions of these customers convinced John that the company couldn’t continue like this. Horizon had to start caring more about the factories’ image and appearance. John began to organize renovation projects that focused on both the shipyard’s interior and exterior. He not only insisted on the spotless appearance of the workspace, but also demanded that the staff be clean and tidy. He would even personally patrol the building to see who did not keep the work areas free of trash and debris. When he saw an employee with a dirty uniform, he would immediately ask the general affairs office to give the person a new one. John told everyone that one of the differences between Horizon and other shipyards was that Horizon always has organized and clean workspaces. This is also thanks to the genesis of the Horizon Group at that time. The Group had shifted its molding department, which occupied the most amount of space and caused clutter and debris to accumulate, to Atech Composites where it was easier to focus on professional production management. The result was that both the shipyard and Atech Composites reached the cleanliness standards necessary for general factory inspection. John let his eyes drift over the factory. It is hard to mistake the look of pride in them. Horizon’s external transformation was only a small step on the path to becoming a world-class enterprise. The operation of its internal organization required a bigger reformation in a more decisive and sweeping manner.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

The registration of working hours, ISO certification, and the constant pursuit of an effective management strategy The establishment of a strong management structure provides an internal strength that is not always visible. It was also necessary to look outside of the yachting industry for management, beyond the field craftsmen to those trained in business management. The establishment of Horizon’s IT and managerial departments were pivotal in the quest to ensure integration. Horizon’s self-developed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, for example, consists of a set of customized management structures based on the features of the yacht building industry, the overall resources of the company, the supply chain capabilities, the managements’ personality traits, and even the psychological quality assessment of the construction workers. The system has been developing and maturing for more than ten years. It also accumulated a lot of information over time and played a key role in in several analysis-based decisions. Considering the past, John exclaimed, “Can you believe it? We couldn’t even estimate the time we would spend building a yacht back then.” John began to track working

Photos of all Horizon Yachts employees, taken in 1993 (left) and in 2002 (right). In 2008, the number of employees in the group was over 1,200.


hour statistics in the company. This required the staff to fill in their shifts manually, so, naturally, they were averse to it. “In fact, the divide between labor and business in Taiwan meant that trust between these two factions could not develop instantly. Any changes in routine resulted in employees doubting management’s intentions.” Yet at the same time it was impossible to expect that a company that didn’t even know its own timeline for completing a yacht could ever become an international enterprise. It was normal for nine out of ten yachts to encounter a delay in construction. This meant that most yachts were almost never delivered on time. The process of reformation was unimaginable to outsiders. John said, “Just look at the implementation of the working-hour registration system. It took years to accomplish it, especially after we decided to include the contractors.” Horizon was also the first in Taiwan’s yacht building industry to apply for ISO certification. When Leo Chuang heard about ISO, his first reaction was to exclaim: “How stressful!” Many of the employees felt the same. The manager of the procurement department, Gene Weng, said, “We don’t understand the benefit of doing this and don’t know how

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

to start, how to do it. Everyone is confused.” So John hired a consultant to explain the benefits and the process to the employees; he also started forming the document and made himself an example. Whether it was the working-hour registration or the ISO certification, John knew that these decisions, which strayed from the traditional approach, would result in endless complaints. He understood that Horizon was a manufacturing company and not a trading company. It was difficult for the craftsmen to do the tasks and then to expect them to keep a written record of said tasks. John said humorously, “To them, it was almost as if holding a pen was heavier than holding a hammer.” However, in John’s vocabulary there is no such word as “retreat.” Persistence and communication were the only options he allowed himself. He imagined his plight at that time to be like the one hundred and eight heroes in the Chinese classic of the “Water Margin”《水滸傳》.When he encountered those reckless, unwilling but heroic craftsmen, he needed to think of effective communication strategies to get through to them. For inspiration, John resorted to his love of reading, specifically novels and management books. He reflected upon what Peter Drucker said when considering efficiency. It is not a question of good and bad workers; in this kind of environment with these types of people, one’s purpose should be based on the management of efficiency.

Benefits and employee retention John clearly understood that establishing trust and shaping a corporate culture could not be done in a few days. He remained patient and resolute. His actions corresponded with his words; he never skimped in his efforts to communicate, and he continued to instill new ideas. Gradually, his efforts bore fruit. Now John can say with confidence that if the orders issued during Horizon’s heyday were to occur today, there would be no need for anyone to work overtime to complete the project.


Mark Tseng thinks that this is what defines John Lu. He always sees farther than others, whether it’s regarding the internal reformation system or the progressive path they are led upon by the development of the brand. The result of John’s efforts is that every decision made has led to Horizon accumulating experience. “The way a problem is solved today could possibly again be used tomorrow,” Tseng said. Even more interesting is that the decisions that were frowned upon by employees in the past have now become accepted policy, resulting in everyone’s peace of mind. This is why Horizon Group’s staff is stable, which is rare to see in the industry. Horizon did face losing skilled employees in those early days. Leo does not exaggerate when he says, “Back then, the staff was continuously changing. Companies were all looking for employees. To be frank, companies were poaching the staff from each other. There were even workers who had been employed, then re-employed up to three times.” An average worker’s sense of job security was very weak back then and some individuals had been deceived by former employers. Some employees felt as if they had no future with the company. So, if someone else was willing to pay 1,000 dollars more in wages, craftsmen with high levels of skill would be lured away by other companies. To solve this problem and to fortify trust between the laborers and the company, John hired a consulting firm that specialized in the Labor Standards Act. He then convened the employees and managerial staff to compare the stipulations of the Act with Horizon’s regulations and went further by also discussing pension calculation. He announced that employees would receive their pensions on the day they retired. The intention was to improve the employees’ sense of job security so that they could focus on work without worrying about the future.

The enterprise expanded from a staff of ten to a company employing more than one thousand people; a system is implemented to retain talented workers The company’s efforts to retain its skilled labor were noticed by employees. Anson Chuang, Horizon’s shipyard director, was one of the first ten workers and stayed with the

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Two Transformation

Group until it eventually employed one thousand people. He said, “No matter the company's scale, employee benefits were something we couldn’t imagine back then.” Mr. Su, the director of the Vision Shipyard, once said, “The management of Horizon Group is like that of an enterprise, rather than a common shipyard. A shipyard receives an order and fulfills it, but more than 70% of the work will be outsourced. Because of this, the management is often relatively lax.” Horizon not only introduced the international certification system of ISO, but also organized training to encourage employees to learn English and obtain certifications to help achieve a raise in salary, etc. These systems are rare in other Taiwanese shipyards. “Because there are systems and rules, everyone will believe that the company focuses on the concept of long-term operation, and because of that we are naturally more willing to stay and work together," he said. “The staff that work here are usually not subject to poaching, since the foundation of mutual trust has been established,” said John. “Our management system is completely transparent. Horizon is a place where an employee can work without any worries. In fact, in Horizon Group, there are employees who have been with us for more than ten years or even members of the senior staff who have been here for twenty years.” Vic Wang, a Horizon electrician, said, “If the boss boldly takes action, we will support him. If the boss must fight, we will fight with him.” Considering this, it isn’t difficult to feel the strong bond between the staff and the management at Horizon. Even though John’s vision reached far, and he deliberately made plans for the future, no one could have expected the huge financial crisis that occurred in 2008. Fortunately, the projects that Horizon worked on at that time did not fall by the wayside. These projects


became Horizon’s best hope to combat the recession. Once again, Horizon faced the challenge of transforming a crisis into an opportunity.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

Cruising forward and holding steady against the current, Horizon gains strength and creates value with each challenge that is overcome.


Chapter Three

Value Creation


Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

A booming industry: a glimpse of the DĂźsseldorf Boat Show before the financial crisis.


A Financial Crisis Spurs Change and a New Operational Vision


orizon Group’s new organizational structure now fulfilled the vision of its CEO, John Lu. However, just as the company was preparing to face the next

peak of its development after this transition, a financial crisis occurred. The world economy collapsed soon after and Horizon was severely impacted. In the past, John always assumed that a recession was temporary and easy to ignore. His experience told him that if the United States was in dire straits, the company should immediately start focusing on new markets such as Europe or Asia, or perhaps even Australia. This financial crisis, however, had such a widespread impact that it caught everyone by surprise. “One year after the crisis,” said John, “Our largest dealer, Drettmann, went bankrupt. The Palm Beach, Florida dealer in the United States closed its doors. Several of our customers were unable to fulfill their contracts. More than ten yachts were canceled on the production line.” John estimated that if those orders couldn’t be completed, Horizon would lose more than thirty million dollars. The thing that John was most afraid of was that if these finished or half-finished vessels at the shipyard could not be deferred, new orders would not be able to come in. The whole company would grind to a halt. Nearly 1,200 workers, including the contractors, would suddenly find themselves without jobs. John felt enormous pressure as he shouldered the responsibility of dealing with this crisis.

Turning a worst-case scenario into a win-win situation During the financial crisis, many of Horizon’s distributors went bankrupt. Horizon was forced to take the initiative and negotiate directly with potential customers and current yacht owners. Eventually, some owners agreed to pay a little more than originally agreed upon, so Horizon could complete the delivery of the yachts. In return, the company agreed to bear part of the losses. This negotiation was a win-win agreement in a nearly hopeless scenario. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

DĂźsseldorf Boat Show is the largest indoor boat show in Europe, and Horizon is one of the main exhibitors.

Following this strategy, Horizon focused on one yacht at a time. Of course, it was inevitable that some customers would opt to give up their yachts. To minimize losses, Horizon began looking for other buyers. In doing so, the company inadvertently established a pattern of construction first and sales afterward. Fortunately, the negotiations with customers were successful, and most of the yachts remaining during the financial crisis period were delivered within three years. In addition, one of the largest 150ft yachts was delivered during the second year.


Miraculously, Horizon wasn’t wiped out by the financial crisis because it did not have a deficit. John has said that this was because the company would use the original deposit for the cost of their yacht conversions, coupled with the money that previously served as commission for distributors. Therefore, Horizon only needed to find buyers for the yachts, which would basically result in straightforward profits instead of losses. The financial crisis not only managed to reveal Horizon’s resilience, but also allowed employees to appreciate the vision of the company’s management.

Left : The active atmosphere of the yacht brokerage market, as seen in this photo, faded several years after the financial crisis.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

Creating value, going with the flow, and investing more during the recession The global recession was worldwide in scope, so it was impossible to hide what was happening from the employees. John chose to be open about it and announced that the company would not lay off any workers. There wouldn’t be any unpaid leave. Gene Weng, the manager of the procurement department, remembers that when the economy was in a slump, John invested even more money to actively create new molds and buy new equipment. Gene stated, “The boss said that if he did not take advantage of the slow times to do this, there wouldn’t be time to do these things when business is going well.” “This is why I remain with Horizon,” said Chris Chen, the manager of business and engineering department at Atech Composites. According to Chris, John not only continued to invest, but also encouraged his staff to do research and development; this served in turn to cultivate and encourage the people who worked under him. Horizon’s management displayed an attitude of determination. John said, “Although the loss of orders was a fact, the whole situation provoked our fighting spirit. We resolved not to go down without a fight. If you fall on the ground, why not check to see if there’s anything to pick up.”

In 2003, a professional composite research area was set up for testing raw materials.


Chapter Three Value Creation

Continuous improvement in technology helps the Horizon team communicate effectively with clients, owners and designers around the world.


John had this idea for a long time but couldn’t find the right timing to implement it. The global financial crisis forced Horizon to build its own brand – not only on the local level, but also with a cohesive and comprehensive global promotion. The process of direct negotiations with yacht owners had became the most valuable practical experience for Horizon when it came to future direct sales.

From the design stage through sea trial and delivery, the Horizon team and the client develop a close relationship.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

HORIZON CITY MARINA To promote yachting locally, Horizon established the Horizon City Marina, the first private yacht wharf and marina in Taiwan. This worldclass marina is 100% privately owned.


After this crisis, John realized that, “Before 2008, we lived an easy, charmed life." Whether Horizon was contract manufacturing for others or relied on the local dealers to sell yachts, even with lower returns, Horizon did not have to worry about marketing and inventory management. “The only thing we had to do was build the yacht that the dealers asked for,” he said. When the dealers’ influences declined, John had the opportunity to face the customers directly and realized that could improve communication and negotiation for long-term success.

Horizon Open House and Partners Business Meeting Since 2007, Horizon has invited owners, potential buyers, and dealers from around the world to visit Taiwan for the biennial Horizon Open House. At the Partners Business Meeting, Horizon shares the insight of future trends and model designs with business partners and dealers.







Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Three Value Creation

Both Horizon and Vision shipyards have their own interior design centers where clients can meet with the in-house design team and select from a wide offering of marble, fabric, metals and upholstery samples.


Then and now: Horizon’s dry docks.

Equipment, processes and services are continuously upgraded to increase core competitiveness In the past, the docking basins at the shipyards were built on an incline and all work had to cease when the yacht was being tested. As the size of the yachts in build kept increasing, the inclined docking basin was no longer efficient, so John Lu had the idea to build the docking basin upwards instead to allow it to hold a yacht up to 130ft. A daunting task, an upwards docking basin design had never been attempted or built before, but it turned out to be a large success and was the first such dock to be built in Taiwan. This upwards dry dock allows for testing without cessation of work and increases overall project efficiency.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding


Chapter Four

A Journey of Branding


Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

The Horizon brand is widely known and favored by owners and partners all over the world.


From Contract Manufacturing to Global Branding


he brand “Horizon” can be traced back to 1991. “At that time, nobody cared when you mentioned the name Horizon,” recalls John. Back then John felt bitter

about Horizon’s role as an OEM and the status of its brand. He remembers when the Japanese market used to be Horizon’s biggest customer base. One day a Japanese dealer suggested putting the name of a Japanese company on the gate of Horizon’s shipyard. It was obvious that they hoped yacht owners who came to visit would think that Horizon was their subsidiary company. To explain the motivation behind this, John said “A company would be labeled as an

OEM if it offered labor jobs.” He felt quite helpless and was unable to resist the demands of this Japanese agency. John stated: “I realized then that, even though manufacturing was very important to us, we shouldn’t make it our sole focus.” Finally, in 1998, Horizon returned to the U.S. market. The Horizon brand started to pop up here and there, but at the same time, the company still mainly focused on the European market. Due to its relationship with dealers, Horizon could only operate behind the scenes, and no one knew much about the Horizon brand.

The long and winding road to building a brand Over the years, Horizon received numerous orders, and the company seemed to have a commanding presence; yet few people know that behind all the glamorous stories of its success, there were also numerous struggles and countless grievances. John asked himself, “While shipyards in Europe focus on their own brands, why are we still primarily focusing on OEM in Taiwan?” There was a time that John negotiated with dealers to establish an equal footing between Horizon’s brand and that of its partners and even offered to pay half of any exhibition fee at industry shows.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

Unfortunately, John’s gesture of goodwill was not returned. “We found out later on that, although we did pay half of the fees, the name ‘Horizon’ was not retained with the partners’ brands; our logo plates were even removed when the yachts were delivered to the customers,” He said. “That’s just how it was.” One particular European dealer, at that time a representative of numerous yacht owners, saw that other dealers were not displaying the Horizon moniker and went so far as to tell the Horizon manager to “stop slapping your brand on everything. It’s already being tossed into the Mediterranean Sea!” Understandably, John was very sad when he heard this. “Do you know how I felt? This is the level of bitterness we encountered towards our brand. We wanted to promote Horizon, but we were being kept hidden within our own markets!” he said. John told himself to be patient, but being patient did not mean he was barred from taking action. Even though he knew that the Horizon name would be taken down after the initial display at exhibitions, he still insisted that the brand be displayed again and again. “My attitude was one of determination,” he said. Each blow struck against Horizon only managed to strengthen John’s resolve. “It’s only a matter of time before we succeed,” he exclaimed. Alice Hsing believes that there is a force behind John’s insistence to promote the Horizon brand. According to him, John’s brand promotion was not done for selfish reasons, or to glorify his own company, but to endorse Taiwan’s yacht building industry. John bet everything he had on developing the brand, eventually proving that it was not just some naive dream. He clearly saw the value behind the brand and understood that his strategy was feasible. However he conceded that, “Sometimes we would lose an order, because someone else offered a better price.” He asked himself the following questions again and again: “Must we only battle a price war? How can Horizon set itself apart from its rivals? What will allow customers to accept our value? What is our value, exactly?” John believes that anyone can talk about technology, the manufacturing process, or customization, but Horizon’s brand should contain much more than just these elements.


2012 年中國海南海天盛宴

Horizon’s yachts are prominently displayed at major boat shows around the world.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

The ritual of handing over a new yacht to its owner varies from country to country and depends largely upon custom. Typically, the delivery of the vessel involves the yacht’s new owner being invited onto the ship to christen the yacht. A bottle of champagne is broken on the bow and poured on the deck to symbolize celebration and smooth sailing.


Establishment of Horizon’s marketing center The birth of the Horizon brand was similar to the formation of the Horizon Group itself. A brand is something that everyone recognizes but companies can’t always attain; almost like an impassable wall. “You have to create or do something that everyone comprehends. And of course, the timing must be perfect. That is why it is so interesting,” said John. When it comes to promoting the brand, he states that, “this requires long-term investment in resources, and if we let up even for a moment everything we have worked for will come to nothing.” This is also the reason why most of Horizon’s small and medium enterprises were reigned in - to concentrate more on brand investment. The Horizon Group can’t count as an extremely large enterprise, but John has confidence that they will one day attain this status. Horizon differs from other yacht competitors because it has established a large-scale marketing center. Since its inception, it has primarily been a resource center and has done valuable promotional work such as publishing brochures and informational booklets. Michelle Huang, director of the marketing center, indicated that they not only participate in international boat shows, but also host open house events as well as owners’ rendezvous. All these promotional activities make Horizon much more active than its competitors.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

Horizon owners are part of the Horizon family. Every time Horizon hosts a yacht owner event, guests are invited to enjoy food, wine, and the yachting lifestyle. This creates an opportunity for the owners to exchange their cruising experiences and strengthen their relationships with each other.

“Why do I think that we should build our own brand?” John asked. “Because we are a niche market.” He knows too well the various traits of the industry. If Horizon were making mobile phones and computers, they would have to engage in a large-scale marketing war to reach hundreds of millions of people. Horizon Group couldn’t possibly afford to advertise on such a massive scale. The current state of the yacht industry today is such that Horizon only delivers a hundred or so yachts a year globally. The customers they face aren’t spread around the world; it is not an endless number of people they wish to reach, but rather small groups located at the top of the financial pyramid. What Horizon must do to reach these potential customers is to find the right channels. John confidently said, “We can do it, probably much better than any of our rivals can, and we know how to do that.”


Ten years prior to 2008, Horizon found itself in a period of rapid growth. John was working industriously, because he knew that without a brand, their sales would not fare well. Their fate was in the hands of others. At any moment, their shipyard could be replaced by another factory, customers could abruptly pull out of commitments, or business could dry up. What could be done then? These fears finally became a reality when Drettmann, one of Horizon’s biggest dealers, abruptly folded during the financial crisis.

Brand awareness ensures future orders "If it was not for the impact of our environment, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have had the motivation to make a change and start promoting our own brand.” John said. He always believed that the development of the brand itself had been driven by the economic Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

Discovery Channel interviewed Atech Composites for a program to commemorate Taiwan's centennial (2010).

Horizon participated in the filming of the American TV series CSI (2007).

climate. In fact, if not for his insistence on never giving up during the past ten years, the Horizon brand would only have been labeled a pipe dream. John seized the opportunity to introduce the brand on the day that Drettmann went bankrupt. If not for this, Horizon might have been forced to close, and another of Taiwan's unknown shipyards would have seized the opportunity. But something strange happened. If there had been no financial crisis and the dealers had not gone bankrupt, the Horizon brand itself might still be struggling, even though there would be a lot more sales. John emphasized that, “I have never regretted the decision to promote Horizon as a brand. It is a lengthy process, but I was glad that I decided to do it.”

Horizon assisted in shooting a commercial for the Sanyo Whisbih Group (2005).


Horizon joined with Discovery to shoot the program “Asia's New Bay Area - Kaohsiung City” (2013).

The company participated in a National Geographic media project (2009).

While Horizon’s sales haven’t returned to the numbers in 2008, the brand development is improving. When the U.S. dealer, Horizon America Inc., shut down because of the financial crisis, Horizon formed Horizon Yacht USA, a representative of the factory, and turned it into a front line focused on marketing efforts and U.S. sales and service for the Horizon brand. John states bluntly that, “If there was no brand, the Horizon we know today would not exist.” Even though the yacht market has been slow to recover, Horizon continues to receive orders from around the world, often from owners building their second, third or fourth Horizon yachts. This can all be credited to the influence of the brand.

TVBS's program “People Insight,” hosted by Nian-hua Fang, interviewed John Lu (2014).

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding


“Recently, a well-known shipyard owner took the initiative to write us a letter, asking whether we would cooperate with him and to hang our name on his yacht,” John said proudly. “The shipyard owner’s willingness to feature Horizon can directly be attributed to the power of our brand.”

The Horizon Lifestyle Leo Chuang said: “I think the most successful transformation of the company so far has been that of Horizon’s brand. At first, the brand’s success came as quite a surprise.” It was not only the results and its strength that counted in the brand’s favor, but also the affirmation from outsiders. Many of Horizon’s staff who wear Horizon uniforms know how it feels to be recognized, to receive affirmation and appreciation when having lunch, going about their daily activities, or when on a business trip. Song-yan Yang, one of the interior cabin shipwrights at Horizon, remembered that when he went shopping for a car, the car dealership said – after


Chapter Four A Journey of Branding

they saw he was wearing Horizon’s uniform – that it wouldn’t be a problem getting a loan. Even Cheng-dong Chen once said, “I wear a Horizon baseball cap all the time.” Watching the brand develop day by day gives John great satisfaction. When Horizon’s brand was still in its infancy, it took part in a boat show held in Australia. When visitors walked across the pier and saw Horizon’s vessel, they said: “Horizon? Never heard of it.” Back then the brand was obviously unknown. But now at every boat show visitors can often be heard saying: “Horizon! That’s my dream boat.”


Despite this, John knows that building and maintaining a brand requires persistent effort. His goal is for the name Horizon to evoke thoughts of high-quality vessels and comprehensive service throughout the globe, and for yacht owners everywhere to be proud to join the Horizon family and live the Horizon lifestyle. “The brand has already shown signs of success,� John said.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Five Envisioning the Future

In 2017, over 200 Horizon owners and guests from around the world gathered in the Bahamas for the Horizon Global Owner Rendezvous.


Chapter Five

Envisioning the Future


Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Five Envisioning the Future

Four Policies to Ensure Horizon's Success for the Next Thirty Years



orizon has weathered 30 years, and its future has yet to be written. However, come what may, its story will go on.

"I would be lying if I said I am not thinking about the future," said John. He believes that time passes too fast. It is difficult for any enterprise to maintain one single permanent business model that ensures sustainable development. During the past 30 years, Horizon encountered massive upheavals roughly every decade. "Will Horizon be forced to change again during the next ten years or even the next five years?" he asked. To keep up with the new, fast-paced generation, John envisions Horizon cruising forward with a down-to-earth attitude and the passion and courage for exploration.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Five Envisioning the Future

Policy One

Communication and Events

Horizon began to promote its own brand and sell yachts directly to customers in 2010, yet it was a decision made in reaction to the economic environment. There is still much improvement to be made to aggressively develop new sales channels and interface directly with potential customers. In the past, for example, the shipyard seldom asked for feedback from dealers after the delivery of a yacht. John believes that this mindset should be abandoned. This does not mean that Horizon wants to replace the dealer’s position; instead, it can efficiently


integrate and complement the resources between yards and global dealers and strengthen their relationship. He used the expansion of the Horizon brand in the United States as an example. The sales and service representative has come up with a reliable sales pattern, and the experience Horizon gained from studying and implementing what they learned from this pattern could be applied in Europe, Australia, Asia, and other countries. Moreover, through the biennial Horizon Open House in Taiwan and the Owners Rendezvous events, Horizon is increasing its presence in the marketplace; potential clients know more about the Horizon brand and the debut of new models, and thus the company is able to maintain a good relationship with both clients and dealers. These are global branding events that will be hosted continuously in the future.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Five Envisioning the Future

Horizon officially entered the refit and repair market in 2010.

Policy Two

Comprehensive Global After-Sales Service

Efficient and personalized after-sales service is a critical factor for brand loyalty as well as a key component of a client’s decision to place a new build order. Because the global yachting market is expansive, Horizon must explore each potential market for success;


and the focus should be on not only the marketing and promotional activities, but also the establishment of an after-sales service network with refit and repair services. John noted, “Among our branding strategies, these will be the improvements that we should work on in the next step.�

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Chapter Five Envisioning the Future


John believes that control of this service should be handled by Horizon in the future. “We should have our own Horizon service and repair center in the United States,” he said. He went on to mention that in the past, the expansion of Horizon placed an emphasis on internal production, and noted that “if the company can continue to grow over the next five to ten years, we should see the expansion of Horizon’s after-sales service overseas.”

Policy Three

Expand Horizon's Technological Expertise to Related Businesses

The scope of the yachting industry is quite broad, including manufacturing, sales, service, charter, concierge services, and various other related businesses. Yacht manufacturing itself is considered a comprehensive industry, and as Horizon has discovered, the same production technology can be utilized in industries outside of yacht building, such as refit and repair. John mentioned, “Refitting an old yacht seems easy, but it actually requires solid integration and communication capabilities, as well as the state-of-the-art facilities. These are exactly the advantages that Horizon has accumulated over the years, and I do think it’s possible to be profitable in the refit and repair business.” Of course, the market potential for such an endeavor is great, yet the challenges are not small. The first prerequisite is to see whether advertising for Horizon’s refit business could spread via word-of-mouth. If it manages to get off the ground, refits could become another mainstream source of business for Horizon. In addition, Atech Composites – the Horizon Group company established in 2000 that specializes in composite engineering and builds yacht hulls and superstructures – has gained many achievements by applying technologies usually used in yacht construction to other industries. This is Horizon’s best avenue for expanding the territory of composites-related business in the future. After yacht sales, the next process is to link up to the yacht service industry, including marina development and operation, charter, and management. Horizon does have some experience in this field with local operations in Taiwan. While this is primarily a service industry – and thus completely different from manufacturing – it is a promising business with great market potential.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Policy Four

Cultivate the Next Generation of Horizon Owners

As yacht manufacturing technology continues to improve, John wants Horizon to remain at the forefront of global trends. He often asks himself, “What is our value in the future?” Many of Horizon’s current clients are Baby Boomers; however, in the next five to ten years, a new group of owners could become the next generation of Horizon customers. “Will their needs change?” John asked. “I honestly don’t have an answer to this question yet, but I am starting to think about what their needs might be.” Horizon’s plans for the future include cultivating and mentoring younger managers in order to bring fresh perspective to this nearly one-hundred-year-old industry; developing a new business model; and satisfying the needs of next-generation customers.


The chairman of Horizon, James Cheng, believes that the success of Horizon should be credited to its original founders. Horizon’s survival and prosperity over the last thirty years is due, in part, to John Lu’s dedication and leadership, as he and his team have managed to break through all obstacles and overcome many difficulties for a three full decades. Looking to the future, John and Horizon’s top departmental managers will continue to work hard together and focus on satisfying the requirements of a new, younger generation, who will provide valuable contributions and eventually succeed current management. Only the cooperation of both generations can create the sort of fusion needed to bring about further achievements over the next few decades. This will then lay the foundations for a further thirty years of prosperity and provide a solid base for Horizon as an enterprise, guaranteeing sustainable development for years to come.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship


Horizon 30

The Spirit of Craftsmanship

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

The Spirit of Horizon - Striving for Excellence


f one asks about the culture of Horizon Group, it can be summed up as: the spirit of craftsmanship.

The term “craftsman” refers to someone who is highly skilled in a particular craft. To achieve this level of perfection, a person must have an innate resilience, a can-do attitude, extreme persistence and a complete lack of fear regarding the pursuit of excellence. Jiro Ono, known as “the Master of Sushi,” once said, “You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the key to success as well as the key to being regarded as honorable.” While other sushi masters maintained that the history of sushi was so long and complete that nothing new could ever be invented, Jiro strongly believed that there was always room for improvement. Because of this ideology he reached the very top of his field. “But no one knows where the top truly is,” he also added. This constant striving for excellence is why he can imbue each seemingly ordinary piece of sushi with an unforgettable taste, which brings in new and loyal customers. This is the true spirit of a craftsman. This quality is not only found in the individuals who work at Horizon, but is a characteristic that permeates the entire business culture. John Lu always states that Horizon’s success is mostly dependent on luck and market factors. Without years of accumulated experience and preparation, business opportunities and chances for growth would slip away. Whether from an outsider’s perspective or from Horizon’s point of view, self-pride should always be present and continual progress should be the hallmark in the neverending pursuit to improve. This is the company’s primary business philosophy. Before focusing more on the topic of craftsmen, however, a key individual must be mentioned. This person is the aforementioned John Lu - the man responsible for imbuing Horizon with the craftsmen’s spirit.


There is a slogan that the staff at Horizon have taken to heart to help improve the quality of their work: we strive for, “Continuous quality improvement, self-assessment, and customer satisfaction." The never-ending pursuit of a higher standard embodies the proud spirit of the Horizon craftsmen.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

John is known for always keeping a straight face, and maybe it is this stoicism that contributes, at least in part, to the reverence that his employees have for him. Horizon Yachts’ Associate General Manager, Leo Chuang, disclosed that, “John never smiles, and some employees call him Poker Face.” But John has a gentle and kind heart under his indomitable appearance. “Sometimes I am demanding of our employees and John doesn’t always agree with me,” said Leo. “John has great affection for the employees,” he added. “He displays the utmost respect for the frontline staff.” Take the topic of retirement as an example. John fondly remembers one evening several years ago, around seven or eight o’clock, when he was working late in his office. A shipwright named A-chang, who had known John for a decade, saw that the office’s light was still on and came in to say hello. He then told John: “Mr. Lu, I am going to retire tomorrow. Today is my last day. You can visit me at my house, when you have the time.” John was quite unsettled when he heard this. His initial thought was: “That’s all?” He quickly asked someone to prepare a red envelope for A-chang as a thank you gift. Despite saying goodbye, he still couldn’t forget about A-chang’s departure. The next day, he went to the administration department for a discussion. He thought Horizon shouldn’t let a worker, one who had dedicated his life to the company, just leave in silence. At the very least, they needed to throw a retirement party for A-chang. John also demanded that the case officer allow all soon-to-be retired workers to withdraw their retirement funds on the day that they leave and not to apply for it after retirement.

Awards and Cer tific ations

Taiwan Excellence -Gold Awards


Best Asian Yacht Builder

The World Superyacht Awards

Only SYBAss member in Asia

DNV (Det Norske Veritas) Certification

In 2015 the chairman of Horizon, James Cheng, received “The Taiwan Excellence Award” on behalf of the Horizon Group.

John didn’t just say what he thought; he meant and acted upon it. He even implemented his idea personally. From then on, once an employee retired, John not only hosted the party but also sent a car to pick the guest of honor up. After the party, the worker would be chauffeured home once again. “I discovered that society as a whole fails to respect these craftsmen. It is not fair to them, “said John. Where others prefer to call these people merely “workers,” John prefers to call these craftsmen “masters”. He treats them as true artists in their craft.

Taiwan Superior Brand Award

AIM Media Editor's Choice Award

BV (Bureau Veritas) Certification

GL Renewable Certification

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

Although building yachts seems like laborer’s work in the eyes of others, it is quite a specialized field in the industry. Yachts are like ocean villas – there are thousands of details one must pay attention to as well as an abundance of sophisticated handwork to be completed. Though the job itself might appear a crude endeavor, it requires an inordinate amount of refined detail. We may be in an era of advanced automated assembly in other industries, but the majority of the detail and finishwork in yacht manufacturing is still done mostly by hand. This requires sophisticated craftsmanship that contributes to a yacht’s overall value. “Each inch of a two-hundred-ton yacht depends on handwork to complete it,” John said. “For example, an 88-foot boat requires approximately forty thousand working hours. These

Whether emotional or joyful, the farewell parties at Horizon always reflect gratitude for those who have worked so hard. Horizon sincerely thanks these retired warriors who have worked hard and fought battles for Horizon over the last 30 years.


are human working hours.” From his point of view, each master craftsman in the factory is a treasure for the company. “When one looks back at the development of Taiwan’s yacht industry, those masters were not highly regarded within Taiwan society and their work would receive little to no recognition,” John said. He believed that this was related to the country’s social value system. He further observed that these craftsmen live a contradictory existence. “On the one hand, they are proud of being masters, but on the other hand they would often suffer from inferiority complexes,” he said. According to him the only thing those masters lack is a degree. “Just because someone is skilled at handwork, doesn’t make them less important than people in other professions.”

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

Adela Jaw, executive assistant to John, recalls that each time the Swedish designer John Lindblom would visit Taiwan, the person he loved to meet up with most was Master A-mao at the shipyard. Even though Master A-mao couldn’t speak a word of English, not to mention Swedish, he and Lindblom managed to use gestures and blueprints to communicate and carry out sophisticated molding tasks every time. An academic degree was not a barrier between them, nor was their differing professions and skills. John sighed, “I am not sure how long it will take to fully implement this ideology for ‘masters’ in Taiwan.”

To reach a common goal, all employees must be motivated and inspired to take initiative Taiwanese society might not readily change its traditional values, but at Horizon, John wants each employee to get the respect he or she deserves. As CEO, he always tries to promote what he calls “a sense of self-worth in every employee." He continually boosts the self-esteem of the staff through a variety of methods, wanting the entire Horizon workforce to believe that what they do is meaningful. “You must, above all else, have pride in your work,” he said. John’s philosophy is embodied by the quality policy he introduced to Horizon. In this policy, he emphasizes the following tenet: self-assessment must come first, and this will inevitably then lead to customer satisfaction. Of course, it goes without saying that in business, the goal is to ensure customer satisfaction. The true meaning of John’s tenet lies in his hope that each Horizon employee can habitually ask themselves: “Am I personally satisfied with my work?” The reason for this is to foster a craftsman’s confidence and to kindle pride. John said, “Since you are a craftsman, you should be able to tell me whether the project has met a craftsman’s standards.” John only settled on this creed after many years of operating a business. Rather than management, he believes coaching to be the best way of running a yacht company. "In this industry, a product’s success mostly depends on the efforts of the frontline staff," said John. He also believes that enthusiasm should be displayed willingly by the craftsmen,


The 2016 Brand Cognition Camp encouraged employees to further understand the Horizon brand and their value through team-building activities.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

and that they shouldn’t merely come to work to perform their duties mechanically, such as installing items by rote. Take the space between the boards that make up a deck, for example. A craftsman can either choose to perform standard-grade work or lay the boards so perfectly that there is less than 0.01 centimeter between them. This is what separates a diligent, passionate worker from an unenthusiastic one. John believes that if your goal is perfection, the use of the so-called scientific management theory will not help you to achieve it easily. In his own words: "How can anyone manage an artist? A true master craftsman cannot be commanded to produce a masterpiece." John also believes that as a leader he might be able to stimulate the inner desires of his artists to inspire self-affirmation. This will encourage them to willingly take the initiative to attain perfection in their craft. Without exception, every member of Horizon Group attests that John is always ready with words of encouragement, and he spares no effort in his pursuit to help his employees develop their finer qualities. Through his hard work, he is creating an enterprise culture where the fear of taking risks is noticeably absent. He has said, “If it fails, it’s not the end of the world. What matters is trying again.” In his mind a temporary gain or a temporary

Participants at the 2016 Brand Cognition Camp acquired a deeper understanding of the importance of branding.


Horizon cultivates teamwork and a familial atmosphere through regular activities for its employees.

loss is insignificant; all that he expects from his staff is that they stretch the limits of their imagination. His ideology advocates trying, because only through trial and error will innovation occur, which in turn ensures the future of the business.

Providing a space where errors are allowed, as long as everyone keeps trying and never abandons the pursuit of accumulated experience through trial and error “In my life, I encountered a lot of failure when I attempted something new,” John said. “Normally making mistakes is a necessary obstacle on the road to success.” To use one of John’s own analogies, he has said that when one falls and suffers no broken bones, it’s important to get back up again, stronger than before.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

Take Atech Composites as an example. Their Seemann’s Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP) technology at first seemed to be a runaway success, but the craftsmen and other workers suffered because of it. John explained that even though the shell structure of a yacht can become lighter and stronger through the process of vacuum infusion, the surface will be striated with rough lines. From a surface management

The shipyard director of Horizon Yachts

Anson Chuang

40 years ago, curiosity and serendipity led him to devote his life to yachts

Anson Chuang joined Horizon in its first year of business as a carpentry foreman and is now the company’s shipyard director. Originally from Penghu, Anson apprenticed as a plumber and electrician in addition to learning carpentry skills after graduating from junior high. Perhaps his innate skills in the field came from his grandfathers, who had similar professions. He felt more at home in the world of carpentry, so he eventually decided to become a full-time carpenter. How he came to work at Horizon was quite by chance. Forty years ago, while on a stroll, he passed the shipyard. It caught his eye, and as he looked at the ships being constructed an insatiable curiosity seized him. He immediately decided that this was what he wanted to do with his life and applied for a job. He started working at the shipyard almost immediately. Although it falls under the scope of carpentry, working on yachts and working on general furniture construction and decoration is quite different. The severe climate and conditions a yacht faces require regulations that normal furniture manufacturing is not subjected to. For example, for general decorative furniture such as that found in department stores and five-star hotels, a gorgeous surface is paramount. Carpenters producing these pieces often use a surface veneer. To quote Chuang himself, they usually just “hammer and nail it,” referring to the fact that this furniture is generally not durable. Because of ocean conditions, however, woodwork on ships is commonly subjected to wind and moisture, so waterproofing is a must. Ships therefore require durable, strengthened wood and sturdy materials.


As he moved from the role of carpentry foreman to shipyard director, the most important task for Anson became not only the quality of his own work, but the overall quality at the construction site. “We constantly have to compete with high-grade European shipyards, especially those from Italy. Not only should our quality be good, but our designs should be the vanguard. Considering this, my duty to control the quality of our employees’ work and to maximize work efficiency is crucial. Quality is of the utmost importance.”

perspective, this counts as a failure. Extensive follow-up procedures are necessary and large amounts of money must be spent on hull fairing, painting, and polishing to make the surface as smooth as glass. These tasks are important, but they are not John’s primary concern; he cares more about these efforts that result in accumulated experience, which inevitably leads to an increase in the value of the workers and the project alike.

The shipwright foreman of Horizon Yachts

Yi-xue Chen

Forgoing his chance to work in Thailand, he insisted on staying in Taiwan and with Horizon Yachts, he finally realized his vision: the construction of an eminently comfortable deck

Yi-xue Chen originally worked at a shipyard in Tainan; however, the company decided to relocate to Thailand, leaving Yi-xue to decide: would he become an expat or stay in his beloved Taiwan? He opted for the latter and joined Horizon Yachts; that was 24 years ago, and he’s never looked back. Learning carpentry after graduating from junior high, Yi-xue Chen went from basic toolgrinding to becoming a master of deck construction. “If the whole company is one great big yacht, then Yi-xue was the man who made the entire deck,” said Song-yan Yang, one of Horizon’s inner cabin shipwrights. The simple words “making a deck” does not serve to accurately describe the complicated construction involved. In fact, it requires an enormous amount of effort. All boards should be polished, the size of the adhesive tapes should be identical, and the color of each board and tape should be indistinguishable. “This will ensure that everything looks ship-shape and pleasant to the eye,” Yi-xue said. For those in the ship-building business, it is a well-known fact that even with five to six years of training there is no guarantee that a deck-builder could independently complete such a monumental task as “making a deck.” Completing a deck requires craft, attentiveness and patience, but also a hefty dose of energy. In his never-ending pursuit of excellence, Yi-xue Chen glues each board unaided. He often crouches all day long in his endeavors. Because of his attention to every detail, from major to minor, he consistently constructs perfection. The moment that the new owner of a yacht comes on deck for the first time, he or she can instantly feel the intensity and passion that went into its construction. In Yi-xue Chen’s own words: "Comfort is key. If you are satisfied with the comfort your work induces, so are the customers." Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon 30 The Spirit of Craftsmanship

Even though some projects can cause financial setbacks, John is not overly worried. For him, success only comes after gaining valuable experience at the expense of several failures. True value equals success through failure. This explains why Horizon can create great opportunities in times of crisis. “I believe that every endeavor is naturally accomplished once it reaches maturity.” John believes that you never know when an opportunity will present itself, but that you must always be ready to embrace it when it comes; there’s no need to become depressed because

The electrician of Horizon Yachts

Vic Wang

He continues to push the boundaries of quality and has pledged to continuously improve upon his installations

Compared to other craftsmen, Vic Wang looks young but already has 16 years of experience as an electrician at Horizon Yachts. Being an electrician sounds as if it is just a boring, normal job, but according to Vic, the skills required for installing the electrical system on a yacht are significant. He goes on to say that the quality and complicated nature of the material one must work with is also much higher than those usually encountered by electricians in other fields. In his own words: “The level of refinement should be much greater.” A yacht has limited space on board, and each vessel has its own unique details to consider when it comes to electrical installation, mostly because each yacht is customized. Vic Wang says, “One yacht’s engine might not be the same as another’s. A careless electrician might end up overlooking construction and layout details, and might even be unable to determine the original location of the wiring. The schedule for installation might then change from two hours to two days. "Unlike old TV picture tubes, televisions nowadays are much thinner. The size, shape and technology keep changing and improving. What this essentially means is, when a product upgrades, we electricians have to upgrade with it." It is also important to remember that the biggest difference between a yacht and a land-based residence is that the yacht can move. A home TV may be connected to via one or two wires and


of temporary frustration. What matters is consistent effort, a courageous attitude, and the dogged determination to try despite the fear of failure. Horizon employees never fail to express their gratitude and respect for John because of his continual encouragement. In John’s words, “If you are satisfied with what you have made, then customers will be satisfied, too." This catchphrase has caught on among the staff. Anson Chuang, Horizon’s shipyard director, has said of John that “his respect is sincere, and he trusts us enough to give us free reign.”

cables, but on a yacht one must consider the satellite TV, home theater, wireless internet, and the satellite phone, among many other electrical devices, which will require the installation of at least five static wires. For Vic Wang, the challenging aspect of the job makes it incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. “I can do such complete work!" he often exclaims. Each installation appears the same, but he never tires of it, because it gives him the opportunity to constantly refine his skills. He likens his job to the process of learning to bake bread. It might not taste good at first, but eventually you’ll get the taste you strive for. Using this idea as inspiration, Vic Wang works at his skills constantly to perfect his process. Vic has admitted that the easiest part of his job is to conceal the wires behind an electrical panel. Even though customers usually never see the circuits within, it is still important to keep them neat and orderly behind each panel. He goes on to explain that, because of the limited space on a yacht, the wires must line up perfectly, otherwise the space itself can’t be used to its ideal capacity. Vic says that his worst nightmare would be if a customer in need of electrical repair on his or her yacht might one day be greeted by a mess of wires behind one of the panels. To avoid this, Vic has become a perfectionist when it comes to laying out the wiring. He said, "If a customer sees that the wires all line up beautifully, the impression of the overall quality of the vessel is enhanced.” The owner will feel exactly like a buyer who spent a lot on a quality car, and got good value for his/her money. It is inconceivable that such a buyer would want to see a mess when he opens up the hood of said car. In conclusion, Vic Wang’s primary goal is the consistent pursuit of excellence, which he strives daily to achieve. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Horizon provides a platform that encourages employees to challenge themselves and bring their talents into play.

John often says that he is more like a director who builds a stage than an administrator of an enterprise. The task that he gave himself is to provide a platform for all employees – regardless of age, academic degree, or race – to practice their talents freely and to deliver their best performance. To build upon this analogy, he said, “Some are in the spotlight, while some work behind the scenes, but everyone puts in an equal amount of effort.” John wants his employees to understand that the yacht industry is built on teamwork and not


on the old, traditional view of a craftsman’s spirit, which advocates the individual. The new craftsmen’s spirit requires self-discipline; expanding one’s vision; appreciating others; adapting to being part of a team; and finally, the training and guidance of a protégé. With this outlook in mind, the business should survive and thrive through the generations. Thus, John has managed to build culture that contains the spirit of Horizon, exemplified by the capability of the company to turn setbacks into opportunities. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


The Development of Horizon Group

Six Periods of Transformation: Horizon Yachts' evolution into the


The Period of Establishment & Focus

During this time Horizon’s main business model remained OEM, and the company focused primarily on the United States and Australia while gradually expanding into the European and Asian markets.

1987 Horizon was founded in 1987 by Shangjie Gong, Shun-hui Cheng, and John Lu with a registered capital of $266,000 USD. Shang-jie Gong served as the first president of the company. John Lu, the current CEO, named the company Horizon Yachts to reflect an image of broad scope, hope, and the desire to embrace the future. Horizon acquired the Xian Qi Yacht Company’s 219,000sqft factory in auction and began production as an OEM of power yachts under 50ft for customers such as Vista in the United States, Ranger in Australia, and Royal in Sweden.

1988 Although 90 percent of Taiwan’s total yacht exports were to the United States, this percentage shrank dramatically due to the Taiwanese currency boost, raised wages and increased raw materials. In response to the dip in the market, Horizon designed and developed its own 45 and 58ft models and shifted focus to markets beyond North America.

1989 Horizon’s new models opened up a new business avenue and led to the company successfully establishing distribution channels in Germany, Britain, Italy, Austria, Northern Europe, Japan and Hong Kong, all within a three-year period. The market share in the United States and Australia dropped from 80 percent to 10 percent, but in Europe and Asia it skyrocketed from 20 percent to 90 percent. This cemented the future for Horizon’s global business development focus and established a foundation for market segmentation and risk diversification.


In 1990, Horizon began building to the DNV (Det Norske Veritas) Classification and formally entered the European market.

Largest Private Luxury Yacht Manufacturer


The Period of Market Development

As the company’s success continued, relationships with dealers were further strengthened. Horizon continued operation as an OEM and focused on production to meet the needs of customers in different regions while at the same time expanding its own branded products.

1992 Horizon continued to perform well in the European and Asian markets. The first phase of the transformation was successfully underway, and the annual export volume gradually increased, bringing Taiwan yacht exports up to rank among the best in the world.

1993 Under the brand name Elegance, Horizon’s new European dealer Drettmann GmbH made excellent headway in the European market. At the same time, Drettmann GmbH and Horizon Yachts were co-developing the new Elegance 70 model, which proved to be a critical success.

1994 Horizon entered the superyacht market with the E80; meanwhile, the design and construction for its first 100ft superyacht was underway, designed exclusively by the Italian ship-designer Spadolini.

1996 Horizon successfully completed its own 100ft superyacht. Shun-hui Cheng was appointed as the second president of the company and the registered capital increased to 1.7 million USD.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


The Development of Horizon Group


The Period of Capacity Development and Expansion

To meet the demand for maximum production capacity, the company created the Atech Composites facility and Vision Shipyard. At this time business and production was mainly focused on the European Elegance series, and the company finally made its long-awaited return to the U.S. market under the brand name Horizon.

1997 Horizon obtained the ISO-9002 certification and became the first quality assurance shipyard in Taiwan to receive the CE marking.

1998 The CIS Committee was established to stimulate the corporate image and standardize the accounting and e-business system. Horizon returned to the U.S. market after five years with its own brand Horizon Yachts, and subsequently established the brokerage house Carl French Yacht Sales on the West Coast.

1999 Horizon established Gilman Yachts as a sales brokerage house on the East Coast. The company also applied for an FRP patent for the innovative SCRIMP (Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process) technology it had developed.

2000 Atech Composites was founded and a 249,070sqft shipyard was commissioned to handle the production of large-scale FRP yacht components. Also this year, senior employees were invited to become shareholders in an employee stock purchase plan intended to be offered to future staff members.

2001 The Vision Shipyard was founded to produce yachts under 70ft in its 40,000sqft site in Dafa Industrial Park.


Horizon promoted the CE MARK certified operating system for the common European market in 1998. At present, there are more than 140 yachts with a CE A certification.


The Period of Combined Manufacturing

To segment production and meet demands, Horizon established a CNC tooling center as well as the following companies: Premier Yachts and Systematic Furniture Limited. Horizon also established the Group Management Center to oversee the administration of the five companies, which covered over 1,100,000 sqft with more than 1,200 employees. During this period the European market continued to boom and the company’s performance in the United States grew year by year. Production at the Horizon and Vision Shipyard was at full capacity, with many orders for large yachts, which led to the expansion of both the shipyard and personnel on an unprecedented scale.

2002 ‧ShowBoats Magazine’s Global Order Book ranked Horizon Yachts as the seventh most prolific shipyard in the world for producing deluxe superyachts. ‧J ames Cheng became chairman of the company, and the amount of registered capital reached 4 million USD.

2003 Horizon adopted the ISO 9001:2000 quality management system and a business consulting firm was hired to implement a lean process.

In 2006 Yachts International magazine ranked Horizon as the sixth best superyacht manufacturer in the world.

2004 The company purchased a 244,000 sqft shipyard located at 6 Kuang Yang Street, adjacent to its original 219,000 sqft yard, making this Horizon complex the premier large-scale yacht corporation in Taiwan.

2005 ‧The Premier Shipyard was founded to build custom superyachts over 130ft from a 285,000 sqft waterfront facility. ‧Atech Composites continued to operate successfully, acquiring its original factory and land as a fixed asset after the lease was purchased by Horizon Group. ‧Vision Yachts expanded its capacity, constructing a new 124,323 sqft facility.

2006 ‧The Company purchased 5-Axis CNC Machines from the United States and established a CNC tooling center at the No. 6 factory. ‧Planning commenced for the implementation of a group management system along with the establishment of a human resources center, IT center, marketing center and a delivery center. ‧John Lu, the Group’s CEO, implemented a comprehensive e-business management system ‧Horizon was awarded the "Asia Boating Award" as the best yacht manufacturer in Asia and would ultimately win the award for 11 consecutive years. ‧T he Systematic Furniture Company was founded and adopted simultaneous engineering operations. The company later merged with Premier Shipyard. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


The Development of Horizon Group


The Period of Recession

At its height, the total export turnover from the Horizon Group reached nearly 133 million USD. Then came the unexpected global financial crisis. In the wake of the initial crisis Drettmann, one of Horizon’s largest dealers in Europe, went bankrupt and all orders were immediately canceled, leaving Horizon to face its greatest challenge since its establishment. Despite the impact of the financial crisis, the Group still completed ten superyachts, each over 105ft in length, and six superyachts, each over 130ft in length.

2008 Horizon continued to innovate, exporting a record-setting 54 yachts with an average length of 73.8ft and total production length of 3,987ft.

2009 Despite surviving the initial recession, Horizon faced another challenge with plummeting orders and agent restructuring. The twelve yacht construction production lines were canceled, leading the corporation to adopt a self-built and self-marketed strategy – a move that paid off within three years, as the company managed to successfully build and sell 90% of its canceled orders. Additionally, a U.S. subsidiary was created to promote brand awareness globally.

2010 ‧As the effects of the financial crisis continued to fluctuate and the number of exports dropped dramatically, Horizon invested in Horizon and Atech Composites, renovating the facilities and offices as well as setting up a showroom and an interior design center. ‧The company developed the new E88 and RP110 yacht models, which would prove to be successful in various global markets. ‧The first solar-powered yachts, the SC23 and SC46, were launched, signifying a new trend in the yachting industry toward energyefficient boating.

2011 ‧Horizon Yachts became the first and only SYBAss member from the Far East.


In 2008, Horizon underwent a brand reengineering and developed the current brand identity to promote to the global market.

Horizon became the first and only Superyacht Builders’ Association (SYBAss) member from the Far East.


The Period of Dominance

With substantial changes in the yachting industry, large dealerships became defunct. Horizon turned its focus to the development of its own brand and established a dominant position from a design, manufacturing, marketing and service standpoint.

2012 In celebration of its 25th Anniversary, Horizon hosted an in-house yacht exhibition for global attendees. It was the first time that an Asian shipyard had held an independent boat show and marked the first biennial Horizon Yacht Open House.

2013 ‧T he EP115, Horizon’s first steel-hulled yacht, was completed for customers from Singapore. ‧To improve its own manufacturing process, Atech invested in a high-tech FRP component design and manufacturing process used in other industries for products such as wind turbine blades, unmanned aircraft, railcars, and materials for the national defense industry. At this time Horizon also introduced the advanced Nondestructive Inspection Technology (NDT) into its yacht construction process. ‧In its Global Order Book, ShowBoats International ranked Horizon as the world's tenth leading yacht builder based on sales performance, and the world's fifth largest custom yacht manufacturer – all in the wake of the financial crisis. ‧The Premier Shipyard shifted focus to yacht refit and repair. ‧Horizon completed the refit of a large superyacht, the 227ft “Saluzi.”

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


The Development of Horizon Group


The Period of Dominance

2014 ‧The company took a headline role in the first Taiwan Boat Show. ‧The company established Horizon City Marina, the first private yacht wharf in Taiwan. ‧Horizon invested in the Argo Yacht Club to promote marine leisure in Taiwan. ‧Horizon’s flagship the EP150 won the “Taiwan Excellence 2014 Gold Award.”

2015 ‧The Horizon PC60 won the “Taiwan Excellence 2015 Gold Award.”

The ShowBoats - Global Order Book ranked Horizon in the top five of the world’s largest custom yacht manufacturers.

2016 ‧The Horizon E88 won the “2016 Taiwan Excellence Award” and was the third product ever to earn this prestigious honor. ‧The company delivered the Horizon EP150, a 150ft 500-ton steelhulled superyacht, to an Asian owner. ‧H orizon managed the issuance of common stock for cash. The contributed capital of the corporation now reached 40 million USD, and the employee shares number reached 51. ‧T he company received the Taiwan Mittelstand Award from the Ministry of Economic Affairs. ‧Development continued on innovative new yachts such as the RP120, E98, FD85, FD74, V68, E56XO and PC52 in order to meet the various needs of the market, to remain competitive, and to promote brand exposure.


By 2015, Horizon had won the “Taiwan Yacht of the Year” award for ten years consecutively. That same year, John Lu was named “Personality of the Year” at the Asia Boating Awards.


The Period of Demonstrable Value

Horizon’s accolades and achievements are testaments to the company’s strength. With 30 years of experience already accumulated, Horizon Group will continue our dedication to craftsmanship, technology, and quality on the global yachting stage. ·Only top 5 custom luxury yacht builder in Asia ·Winner of

8 consecutive Taiwan Excellence Awards and 3 consecutive Gold Awards, the

highest honor in Taiwan Excellence

·Highest number of superyachts delivered among all Asia shipyards, totaling over 190 ·Winner of 12 consecutive “Best Asian Yacht Builder” awards


140 yachts certificated by ISO/CE Class A Ocean category, and also recognized by the

world’s major classification societies such as BV and DNV.

·30 years of professional experience building luxury yachts ·Horizon sales and support to clients in over 60 countries

·8 yacht series with more than 20 models to choose from

·800 professional yacht builders and more than 300 master craftsmen

·Only SYBAss member in Asia

·Recognized as one of the Top 10 Global Superyacht Companies by The Superyacht Report ·An approximately

110,000 m

building our yachts


(1,184,030 sqft) facility, with

four specialized shipyards for

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved


Celebrating 30

Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Horizon Group's 30th Anniversary Celebrations


n June of 2017, Horizon Group celebrated its 30th anniversary alongside one of the company’s major milestones: the Horizon City Marina. Featuring four main

entertaining areas – Horizon Plaza, Horizon Wonderland, the Yacht Experience, and the Waterfront Party – the anniversary festivities provided a little bit of everything from a food court, amusement rides, and games to a live concert to end the night. Over 3,300 guests, including employees, their families and friends, and business partners, attended this unforgettable event to celebrate Horizon’s 30 years of success.


Feel the Horizon vibe at the opening ceremony The opening ceremony took place at the Horizon Plaza, where guests counted down to zero with Horizon Group CEO John Lu; when zero was reached, the yachts in the marina blew their horns into the southern Taiwan sky and officially opened the celebration. Guests were then guided by a famous aerobic trainer to undertake the group effort of forming the number 30, and the image was recorded and projected onto the main stage screen by a drone so everyone could see the fun. Then it was time for guests to enjoy live performances from exotic African drums to a clown show for the kids.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

The Horizon Plaza showcased numerous “Puncars� modified from Volkswagen buses and provided various appetizers for guests to choose from. At the other side of the plaza, guests could purchase limited-edition souvenirs for Horizon’s 30th anniversary, with the proceeds going to charity. Horizon has always believed that the more we grow as a company, the greater our responsibility to give back to the community.


Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Fun & excitement in Horizon Wonderland Strolling to the Horizon Wonderland, guests were treated to an amusement park experience for all ages to enjoy! Thirteen attractions, such as a merry-go-round, kid robots, a surfing machine and more, provided plenty of fun and laughter. Additionally, a specialized pool allowed parents and children to experience popular water sports such as kayaking and SUP.


Luxury yacht showcase at Horizon City Marina At Horizon City Marina, employees’ families and friends were offered tours of five luxury yachts – the RP110, FD85, E62, E56 and E56XO – for a true experience of the yachting lifestyle. This was a special event for the family and friends of Horizon employees, as it gave them the chance to see firsthand the finished product that comes from all the hard work of their loved ones! This large-scale showcase of Horizon yachts is usually only seen at an international boat show, which is exactly where some of the yachts headed after the event.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

A toast to 30 amazing years As evening approached, guests began moving towards the large concert stage for the next portion of the nights’ events. The lights went out and the screen played Horizon’s 30th anniversary video, which documents the company’s journey and history over the past three decades. After thanking all the employees for their dedication, Horizon CEO John Lu, the chairman, James Cheng, and the managers raised their glasses and asked all the guests to share in a toast to the past, present and future for Horizon. The evening swiftly moved into the highly anticipated concert events, where artists and bands, including the highly popular Taiwanese band Wu-Bai & China Blue, took turns rocking the night. Many guests enjoyed the music from on board a yacht, while others took to the grass to dance to their favorite songs. As the concert came to end, the crowd yelled “encore” and even the yachts joined in, blowing their horns to encourage a final


tune. As a grand finale, Wu-Bai & China Blue sang “Farewell my Love” to close out an amazing night of music. An unforgettable time spent in the company of friends, family and coworkers, the Horizon 30th anniversary was a true expression of joy, pride, and gratitude - not only for everything the company has accomplished together but also what we will continue achieve. Here’s to the next 30 years!

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

30 years in business, 27 Horizon luxury yachts and over 200 owners and guests enjoying fun-filled days in the Abacos – stir this all up together islandstyle, and you have the highly success 2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous!

2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous


iles upon miles of pristine turquoise water and white sand beaches – this is what greets you upon entering the 120-mile long chain of Bahamas islands

known as the Abacos. Considered the boating capital of the Bahamas, the Abacos has long been popular with boaters, and more recently land-goers, for its hospitality, protected harbors, and beautiful scenery. Given the splendor of the Abacos, and Horizon Yachts’ “history” with the area, it was not a hard decision for us to choose this locale for our 2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous and 30th Anniversary Celebration. This history is a special one for the company, as Horizon’s first-ever rendezvous took place in the Abacos; and what better way to celebrate our first global rendezvous and a milestone anniversary than to come full circle to the place that helped us begin this wonderful owner tradition!


This global rendezvous was hosted primarily at the Abaco Beach Resort in Marsh Harbour, but as there is much not to be missed in these amazing islands, we offered trips to various surrounding areas such as Guana Cay and Green Turtle Cay. With 27 luxury Horizon yachts and over 200 guests in attendance – including Horizon Yachts CEO John Lu as well as owners who traveled from as far as Australia – this event marked the largest turnout in Horizon’s rendezvous history and called for a fabulous celebration of our owners, guests and the Bahamas yachting lifestyle. Over four sun-filled and breezy Abaco days, the 2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous went full-speed ahead into fun with a multitude of festivities. The rendezvous opened with an afternoon welcome reception on the new Horizon RP120 superyacht, where guests toured the yacht and relaxed on the flybridge with Painkillers, a favorite boating cocktail. As happy hour approached, we moved into the resort’s marquis – decorated in Horizon’s signature white and blue colors – for drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and CEO John Lu welcomed all owners and guests with a speech about Horizon’s accomplishments over the past 30 years of business – a feat, he noted, that would not have occurred without loyal and valued owners like those sitting in the room. With the party officially started, everyone enjoyed a delicious Bahamian-inspired dinner and filled the dance floor, getting their groove on with the live band well into the night. Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

The next day we loaded aboard our private ferry destined to Guana Cay, home of the famous Nipper's Bar & Restaurant, all decked out in our Horizon straw hats and specially-designed rendezvous shirts. Taking part of another Nipper's tradition, Horizon hosted a private pig roast for owners and guests, and then kept the party going on the beach with music, beach games, and basking in the sun.


Adventure was on the schedule for the third day, with three types of Bahamas expeditions offered – touring Green Turtle Cay, fishing the Sea of Abacos, and snorkeling at Mermaid Reef. Guests who chose Green Turtle cruised there on board the Horizon E88 motoryacht and arrived for late-morning drinks at the Green Turtle Club; before touring the charming, colonial cay, visiting New Plymouth, the Atlantic Beaches and some of the well-known watering holes across the island. Then everyone enjoyed lunch at the Bluffs, before embarking on a leisurely cruise back to the Abaco Beach Resort, completely relaxing on board and taking in the splendor of the sea.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

For their expeditions, the snorkelers and two fishing groups stayed local to the Marsh Harbour area; the fishermen and women stayed busy hooking quite a few mutton and Red Snapper between the two boats, while the snorkelers hand-fed swarms of fish, saw (and attempted to catch) lobster and spotted a lionfish at Mermaid Reef. As the day began to wind down, owners and guests met back up at the resort for a happy hour by the pool with appetizers, Goombay Smashes – a favorite during our rendezvous – live music and dancing until dark! Our last day at the resort donned bright and breezy – an idyllic setting for morning golf on the beach complete with a Horizon flag, located in the water, as a target and


golf balls made of fish food…yes, really! Next on the agenda was our traditional Yacht Hop event, this time with a twist – a costumed aft deck decorating contest. Taking this to heart, our owners went all out to showcase their creative sides; we saw everything from Gilligan’s Island and President Trump “hiding out” on a yacht, to pink flamingos and a 70’s Disco Fever. As the afternoon wore on, everyone hopped from yacht to yacht, enjoying food, drinks and the company of a fantastic group of owners and guests. At dusk, Horizon hosted our final event on the island, an Abacos’ beach bash. We dined and danced under the stars, crowned winners of the aft deck decorating contest, and paraded around the beach with a Junkanoo band – a true Bahamas celebration of our incredible rendezvous and time spent together.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved


“Augmented by the Bahamas’ renowned hospitality, delicious food and gorgeous weather, the Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous was a great success; but more importantly it emphasized that having fun in beautiful places and with wonderful people is truly what makes boating so special,” said Horizon CEO John Lu. From all of us at Horizon Yachts, we want to thank all the owners and guests who joined us in the Abacos and made the 2017 Horizon Yachts Global Owner Rendezvous such a magnificent event. What an unforgettable time we had with our Horizon family, illustrating that the island slogan definitely holds true….it really is “better in the Bahamas!”

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

In the Words of Horizon Friends Horizon Owners

We purchased our first Horizon in 2011 after owning many boats. We were blown away by the finish and engineering that Horizon put into each of their yachts. After two visits to the factory, delivery day finally arrived and I can honestly say that the wait was worth it. We have now spent nearly five trouble-free years using our Horizon and would not hesitate in recommending the brand to anyone. From the factory support to the local dealer support, we have not experienced such attention to detail with other manufacturers. It is no surprise that Horizon is celebrating 30 years of business, and I have no doubt there are many more still to come. - Peter & Sharon Redman, Owners, Horizon E56 "Evolution"


As new Horizon catamaran owners, we congratulate Horizon Yachts on 30 years of success in the boating industry. We absolutely love our new 52ft Catamaran which we call our floating apartment. Horizon Yacht's innovative designs and high level of quality reflects how they remain in the forefront of the industry. We look forward to seeing what happens in the next 30 years. - Michael & Anne Williams, Owners, Horizon PC52 Catamaran "MIAN"

Horizon is more than a fantastic yacht. Horizon owners enjoy the pleasure of owning one of the best built yachts in any country. From stem to stern the quality greets everyone. I am the proud owner of an 82’ 2001 walkaround and every guest comments that the boat looks new. I feel like I am part of a family because Horizon reaches out to its owners and involves them as family members. I am pleased to share my feelings about this company and its employees. - Ed & Carol Kaloust, Owners, Horizon E82 "Carol Ann�

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Horizon has been a part of our family for more than a decade. Horizon built our 85’ F/B Motor Yacht to replace our 63 RPH. While it was a big change with a foreign builder the experience was superb. Their responsiveness in meeting our needs during the planning process and the build process demonstrated their dedication to world class build and delighting customers. They always go out of their way to deliver superb quality and performance. The robustness and quality of design rivals some of the best yachts in the World. After nearly seven years of operating the 85, came the time for a bigger boat with the growing family that includes four grandchildren. To my surprise our 85 sold within 30 days after seven years of ownership which left us without a boat for two years, but it was well worth the time and the effort. The best compliment I heard from the buyer of my 85 a year later was for him to say this was the best boat he ever had and complimenting me for the build details and features. I would also say that while Horizon is not the lightest boat available, the handling, predictability and dependability makes you comfortable having your most precious asset, our family, offshore. So in 2015 we finally took delivery of our new 105 Tri-Deck which gives our family incredible flexibility to cruise with the open spaces that meet multiple family requirements simultaneously. The custom features on this yacht are equivalent to yachts that are twice this size. Every guest’s jaw drops as they come on board as it is of a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail, features you never see in a yacht this size. So congratulations to John Lu and the Horizon team on creating such a franchise. You continue to improve the dream products and always support the user. How quickly this new yacht matured as it entered service is unmatched and the Horizon team has to be proud of what they accomplished and as the premier Taiwanese builder for 30 years, thank you for helping to build our dreams. I know the next decades will bring exciting steps in your journey. - Louis & Debbie Chenevert, Repeat Owners, Horizon E85 and P105 "Debbie Lou"


Simply stated the Horizon Team is a pleasure to work with. They make the build process a pleasurable exercise from the initial concept and hull design to the finished yacht. Every effort is made to deliver a high performance yacht that reflects the owners' individual design features and boating requirements. I along with my captain and engineer traveled to Kaohsiung to work individually with the Horizon team, specifically the architects, engineers and design teams to finalize every feature of the build. It was a perfect time to visit as the room partitions were in place but the walls were still open which allowed us to work with the team to create additional storage spaces, visualize the finished spaces and tweek the design features. I am amazed at the expertise, the attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship that the Horizon team puts into every phase of the build and their willingness to accommodate every design request. John Lu and the entire Horizon team connect with the owners on a personal level as well. The hospitality shared on our trip made for a very enjoyable time in Kaohsiung. Building a yacht doesn't get any better than this! - Jo Ellard, Repeat Owner, Horizon E76 and E98 "Do It Now"

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Dear HORIZON YACHTS and Horizon family: You are a one-of-a-kind yacht beauty, with great personality, great taste, elegance and class! We fell in love with you at first sight and your competition did not stand a chance. Your unique, high-quality wood craftsmanship and the functionality of the inside and outside design are outstanding. So is your entire family: the Horizon owners, representatives and employees. From the beginning of our Horizon relationship we felt appreciated, included, listened to, and still feel part of this awesome family today, after five years. The Horizon team enhances our yachting experience, by adding fun and knowledge, be it through the fantastic “Rendezvous” encounters or simply with advice and new ideas and keeping in touch. Horizon means quality and dedication and excellent service, before and after joining the family. That’s the key to its success. We could not be more pleased with our Horizon total experience and look forward to more adventures and discoveries together. So, Happy 30th Anniversary and to many, many more remarkable ones!!! - Jules & Isabella Tremblay, Owners, Horizon E70 "Let's Go"


Our previous Horizon was eight years old when we sold her. Our present Horizon is almost seven years old with over 40,000 miles traveled. Age is no barrier for a Horizon nor is the size of the seas. With great confidence in our vessels we set off for many long voyages well offshore appreciating the care in the build. With all our best wishes to our friends at Horizon for 30 more years successful years. - Wendy & Ira Levenshon, Owners, Horizon V74 "Satori"

“STARR� is our 2001 76' Horizon. We cruise from Maine to the Bahamas every year with many favorite stops in between. We have never kept a boat for so many years, but STARR is such an exceptional vessel. And the personal service we have received from the Horizon family is excellent. Happy 30th Anniversary Horizon, and many more to come. - Fred & Starr Ezra, Owners, Horizon E76 "STARR" Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved

Horizon Vendors

Besenzoni Spa, which in 2017 will celebrate its 50th

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Horizon Yachts

anniversary, has the privilege to work with Horizon since

for their 30th anniversary of constructing world class

its entry into the international nautical market.

yachts for the global market.

The common desire to create innovative solutions to

All staff at FUSION Entertainment are very proud to have

satisfy the customer in every specificneed has enabled

been working with Horizon Yachts for so many years and

both companies to grow and consolidate over the years.

look forward to doing so for many years to come.

The quality of the components, the sophisticated

Horizon Yachts is a true partner with our company,

workforce and innovative technology are a constant

where we work together to ensure that we are delivering

recognition to Horizon not only in Asia but around the

the best entertainment solutions to happy Horizon

world, and we are flattered by the opportunity given to

owners across the world.

our company to be acknowledged and associated with a

We wish all at Horizon Yachts salubrious 30th

brand as prestigious for so many years.

Anniversary celebrations and look forward to the next 30 years.

Best wishes, HORIZON ! - Supplier, BESENZONI S.P.A.

Yours Faithfully, - Supplier, Chris Baird, FUSION Entertainment Ltd.

We are honoured to be aboard Horizon Yachts all around

Horizon yachts have a manufacturing philosophy similar

the world.

to Apple. Understanding the new technologies that will

Many compliments for your achievement of 30 years on

become available and incorporating them into their

the marker, and we wish you other one hundred years of

hull and engineering designs. This allows a diversity of

success with the same passion!

exterior and interior designs to be accomplished which is

Cantalupi Lighting is a proud partner of Horizon Yachts.

their strength.

- Supplier, Cantalupi Lighting

Congratulation to Horizon Yachts for their 30 years of progressive manufacturing and also their 30th anniversary. We wish them a successful future. - Supplier, Underwater LightsTM


Celebrating 30 Reflecting on a Milestone Achieved


Horizon offers yacht owners the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and enhance their lifestyle aboard a luxurious recreational platform that provides a myriad of possibilities on the water.

Horizon Celebrates 30 Years


Define Your Horizon Horizon Celebrates 30 Years Chief Editor: John Lu Editors: Michelle Huang, Chloe Chung, Joey Lu, Lily Li, Sylvia He, Yu-ju Lin Layout design: Lisa Yang, Yu-ling Chen Translation: Rebecca Cahilly-Taranto, Elise Moffitt, Erin Lin

Publisher: John Lu Published by Horizon Group Marketing Center Address: No. 8, Kuang Yang St., Hsiao Kang, Kaohsiung, 81257 Taiwan Tel: +886-7-860-7770 Fax: +886-7-802-1207

1st edition All Rights Reserved.

Profile for Horizon Group

Horizon Celebrates 30 years (ENGLISH)  

Horizon Celebrates 30 years (ENGLISH)  

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