A series of recent comments from Ge Wenyao, chairman of cosmetics maker Shanghai Jahwa (Group) Co, have spurred market speculation about potential cooperation between French luxury group LVMH and time-honored Chinese watch brand Sea-Gull.
"LVMH is interested in the production capacity of Sea-Gull's mechanical watch business. I think the luxury group aims to expand its watch business but its production capacity for complicated watch elements is limited," Ge said in a Sina Weibo post on January 21.
State-owned Tianjin Sea-Gull Watch Manufacturing Group, founded in 1955, has an annual capacity of 6 million mechanical movements for watches.
Ge said he had sent information about Sea-Gull's watchmaking skills to LVMH's headquarters in France in September 2012, and the company decided on January 15 to send technicians to inspect Sea-Gull's factory in Tianjin.
"So far I have not received any notice about LVMH's visit. It is still unknown whether LVMH will want to cooperate with Sea-Gull," Cao Weifeng, an engineer at the technical center of the Tianjin-based company, told the Global Times on January 22.
Hugues Schmitt, a Paris-based spokesman for LVMH, refused to comment on the issue when contacted by the Global Times Wednesday.
Facilitating cooperation between LVMH and Sea-Gull is just part of Ge's desire to help build the time-honored company into a global luxury brand in the next decade.