An Interview with John Lu: the CEO of Horizon Yachts

Horizon Yacht Company, located in the Siaogang District of Kaohsiung City, is the largest luxury yacht builder not only in Taiwan, but is also the largest yacht manufacturer in Asia. Kaohsiung is fortunate to host one of the top ten yacht builders in the world.

According to Taiwan Business Topics, “Since 1995, when Horizon built its first 80-foot vessel, it has delivered more than 190 “megayachts” that size or larger. It is now the only Asian member of the Superyacht Builders Association.” The yacht industry is thriving and Kaohsiung is the center of excellence in yacht building. It is the headquarters of 20 prominent yacht builders.

Taiwan luxury yacht production is a preeminent leader in Asia. Currently, Taiwan has 35 yacht makers of whom 20 (63%) are from Kaohsiung and possess 80% of the annual production in Taiwan island-wide.

Kaohsiung City Government
Horizon launches two RP110 Super Yachts

However, the growth in the yacht industry was not always rosy. There were two recessions in the past that bankrupted many shipbuilders. The first downturn was attributed to the appreciation of the New Taiwan dollar against the US dollar, making the yachts more expensive. At around the same time, the US levied a luxury tax. The second dip corresponds to the global financial crisis from 2007-2009. The high mortgage defaults in the United States led to massive bank bailouts that affected the entire world. The uncertainty in the global market significantly impacted the yacht building industry in Taiwan.

Horizon Yacht Company was able to “weather the storm” to emerge as a model company who understood its clients’ needs. They adjusted their strategy to meet the demands of dynamic global shifts and challenges. Through calculated risks and unrivaled customer support, they remain a top yacht builder in the world. Kaohsiung is fortunate to host a a leading global company on the cutting edge of luxury yacht building.

“The Horizon Group is committed to executing its clients’ visions while maintaining the highest standards of excellence. Each Horizon yacht is a unique reflection of its owner’s lifestyle and personality.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Horizon Yacht Company is Mr. John Lu. He founded the company in 1987. An alumni of the National Taiwan Ocean University, he majored in Naval Architecture. His expertise, passion for sailing, and entrepreneurial spirit led to Horizon Yachts. My Kaohsiung was granted an interview with Mr. Lu. We discussed broad topics from the importance of the yacht industry in Kaohsiung to the challenges of being the CEO of a major company.

Interview with Mr. John Lu

My Kaohsiung: What is a work day like for you?

I like to see how everyone is doing. We have few supervisors, so the organization is relatively flat, which allows me to meet everyone and see how they are doing on their jobs.

My Kaohsiung: What was your professional journey like to get you where you are today?

I started the company at a relatively young age, so I didn’t have a mentor. But the people I surrounded myself with were all successful, so I was able to gain insights into their leadership styles. I learned just by listening and interacting with like-minded people.

My Kaohsiung: As a CEO of a successful company, you are respected by many. Could you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?

One client said to me, “John, learn to do nothing.” I thought about this a long time. How hard can that be? But, as it turns out, it’s not easy to “do nothing.” My client took 3 years to master “doing nothing.” I always have things on my mind, but I’m slowing learning to leave them to find inner peace.

My Kaohsiung: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Listening to people. I’m constantly talking with my employees and clients. I take their inputs as personal challenges and this provides an opportunity to reflect on my leadership and how I can improve myself.

My Kaohsiung: What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to get insights into becoming a better leader?

Network! Networking is very important in the Asian business scene. If you help other people, they will in-turn help you.

My Kaohsiung: What are the most enjoyable things cruising on a yacht?

I enjoy designing yachts, but I leave it up to my clients to enjoy the experience of cruising.

My Kaohsiung: Since it is established in 1987, how do you see Horizon Yacht changing?

We are always watching for trends and communicating with our clients. We have also opened offices in Florida, USA and Queensland, Australia to help us assess the trends. So, we are moving toward even more customization of our yachts based on their wishes. For example, most of our western clients like to sunbathe and party, so we build yachts with more space for this segment.

Horizon FD85 in Bahamas
Horizon PrimeTime Yacht Up Close

My Kaohsiung: Kaohsiung is home to International and Taiwanese community, what would you recommend people to do if they wish to learn more about yachts?

Visit the Horizon City Marina. It is open to the public and offers an combination of restaurant and an opportunity to view the various Horizon yachts.

My Kaohsiung: Could you share with us your favorite places in Kaohsiung to spend the weekends?

I like to golf. I recommend the Kaohsiung Golf Club.

Taiwan International Boat Show 2020

The Taiwan International Boat Show has been credited with boosting the yacht building industry in Taiwan. It is also the biggest indoor exhibition in Asia.

After a successful exhibition in 2018, the next biennial Taiwan International Boat Show will be held at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center from March 12th to 15th, 2020. It is expected to attract more than 25,000 professional buyers and visitors. For more information about the event or reserving a booth, please review the Application Kit.

Click here to read the latest Horizon Brand Publication 2019

Learn more about Horizon Yacht

Copyright photos & videos : Horizon Yachts 嘉鴻遊艇集團

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