Innovators improving the boating experience
There are plenty of great ideas out there to improve boating for us all. But the people who really innovate are the ones who take those ideas and make them real, and have a palpable impact on the on-the-water experience. These are the leaders of the industry. Jeff Chen of Hampton Yachts is one of those leaders and shares his insights into how he makes boating better.
Power & Motoryacht: How does your passion both for boating and business feed innovation?
Jeff Chen: I was born into a family with the passion for boating, after all the family boatbuilding business started in Taiwan over 50 years ago. I spent my youth hanging around boatyards and boats. I learned the passion for business from my Engineering and Graduate Studies at Stanford University. This background instilled in me a desire to create and build the best and most technically advanced yachts possible, and led to our collaboration with Howard Apollonio in developing the Hybrid Hull for our Endurance series and the new Split-Chine hull design for our new generation of the Hampton Pilothouse series—and the collaboration with JC Espinosa on the exciting new Euro and Pilothouse series.
Power & Motoryacht: What lesson from your past has helped move your business forward?
Jeff Chen: Low leverage, cautious and prudent expansion of production facilities; source and hire the most talented boatbuilders available; continual product innovation and improvement; enhanced quality control and exceptional warranty and customer-service programs.
Power & Motoryacht: How will your products change to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace?
Jeff Chen: Our products are evolving continuously. We currently have three brands (Hampton Series, Endurance Series, and the new Regency Series) each is different and each has been developed to meet the different client/market demands of their categories. We will continue to evolve these brands as new technologies become available. We have also confirmed our emphasis on the 60- to 100-foot size range and will continue our collaboration with naval architect Howard Apollonio and designer JC Espinosa on refinements and new product development. To reduce the demand on our overcrowded Shanghai facility, we have recently turned ground on construction of a new boatyard in Taiwan that will be one of the largest build facilities in Asia at 163,350 square feet (about 15,000 square meters). Completion of the new Kaohsiung facility is expected to be June, 2017.
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.