News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery : Fleet growth: over 1,000 yachts registered in mainland China

Fleet growth: over 1,000 yachts registered in mainland China

'China (Shanghai) International Boat Show 2010. Shanghai Yacht Club.'    Guy Nowell ©    Click Here to view large photo

China's super rich have found one more area - yachting - in which to catch up with their Western counterparts. The mainland's nouveau riche increasingly spend their weekends cruising up and down various waterfronts. Emma An Reports.

China has been keeping up with the West on almost every front it seems. And these days, the country's super rich have found one more area where they can do a little bit more catch-up work - yachting. The culture of yachting, a major pastime among affluent Americans and Europeans, is now taking hold in China as the mainland's nouveau riche increasingly spend their weekends cruising up and down various waterfronts.

As such, expensive private yachts are the most recent must-have item for many of the nation's well-heeled - right up there with a fancy home, designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, and a fast sports car like a Porsche.

Demand for private yachts has gained traction in China over the past two years although the country still makes up only 1-2 percent of the global yacht market currently.

But yacht makers are racing to fill that demand, hoping to make up lost ground to the US and Europe, traditionally the industry's two most important markets. The two markets put together still account for 95 percent of yacht sales globally, but growth has slowed due to having been deeply mired in the global recession.

'The financial crisis has definitely affected the yachts market,' Gordon Hui, who heads the Asia operations of the famed UK yacht brand Sunseeker, told China Daily.

But 'China recovered rapidly from the financial crisis,' Hui added, 'and the market for yachts expanded as a result. It has also propped up the whole Asia market.'

In the four years from 2006 to 2010, China's yacht industry has gone from virtually zero to attaining a market size worth about $3.4 billion. However, some industry insiders say that the yachting market in China could balloon to 200 billion yuan ($30.86 billion) over the next few years.

US-based Brunswick Corp, the maker of Boston Whaler fishing boats, said total yacht sales in China could grow by as much as 25 percent this year.

'We believe the long-term potential in the marine business is larger than anywhere else in the world,' Chief Executive Dustan McCoy told Bloomberg recently.

Sunseeker's Hui sees China's yacht market 'in full swing by next year'.

Samuel Wong, a Hong Kong-based yacht builder, was even bolder in his outlook. He expects the market on the mainland to double in just one year. So far, it has consumed half of the yachts churned out by Wong's shipyard.

Wong, who expects to deliver his most expensive boat into the hands of a mainland owner soon, said his yacht is cheap compared with a similar model made by a foreign yacht maker. One yacht he had just sold on the day China Daily caught up with him carried a price tag of 38 million yuan.

Meanwhile, William Hung, a marketing consultant at Taiwan-based luxury yacht maker Horizen, says that brand recognition plays a large part in what type of yacht wealthy mainlanders are likely to buy, just as they would when buying a luxury watch.

In part, this is because people on the mainland still 'don't know much about yachts and sailing', Hung said.

Thus you have situations where a foreign-made boat can cost as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars more than a domestically-manufactured one even if the two are essentially 80 percent similar in terms of design and quality, he added.

And the super rich yacht buyers do care a great deal about whether the boat is British-made or an Italian-made, a view which Wong shares with Hung.

But that doesn't mean Chinese yacht makers have been completely shut out of the market. Quite the contrary in fact as China's yacht exports are steadily increasing from $180 million in 2006 to $220 in 2007 and further to $260 million in 2008. The momentum was lost in 2009 following the outbreak of the global financial crisis but regained its footing in 2010, during which $204 million worth of yachts were exported.

At this year's Hong Kong Gold Coast Show in May, which attracted 20,000 visitors, there was no lack of well-off Chinese who ended up buying a domestically-manufactured boat selling for somewhere between HK$200,000 and HK$1 million.

The sport of sailing is increasingly in vogue among not just the super rich but also China's emerging middle class. So a lot of buyers are looking for a bargain when it comes to boats. And even if they don't have pockets deep enoughto splurge on a yacht akin to a Rolls-Royce, owning a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz will suit them just fine.Yacht makers are exerting more effort than ever to cater to this rapidly expanding legion of rich Chinese who often don't use their yachts the same way the Europeans or Americans do.

For them, a boat is used to entertain clients rather than for sailing. Thus a flat-screen television, a Karaoke and a games room are usually must-haves, said one domestic yacht maker who participated in the Hong Kong Gold Coast show.

For corporate buyers, they use their boats to do social networking for the sake of their businesses.

Foreign boat makers have taken note of this and have been rushing to unveil models with touches tailored for Chinese tastes at boat shows across the country.

According to the 2010 Hurun Wealth report, there are now 875,000 millionaires (people with financial assets in excess of 1 million yuan) in China in US dollar terms, and half of them have indicated they intend to own a private yacht.

In anticipation of this exponential growth, Sunseeker Asia is looking to double the number of dealers in China to eight from four currently.

'As China has plans for more than 40 marinas with more than 10 of them already operational, I foresee the consuming power from China will be massive in the near future,' said Hui.

The sector has received considerable backing from the government lately, with restrictions eased and more go-aheads given. The allure is not just about a huge wealth-creating industry, but an entire yacht industry chain. For example, there will be the growth of yacht clubs, which offer services such as yacht maintenance and crew training. There are about 40 yacht clubs in China at the moment, and the trade is lucrative given exorbitant membership and annual fees. One has to pay around 200,000 yuan to be a club member.

Meanwhile, Shanghai is aiming at being the largest yacht production base in China, while Tianjin, where a 9-billion yuan yacht port is currently under construction, plans to become the center of the yacht industry in North China.

Qingdao, which hosted the sailing competition during the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, has seen 40 shipyards set up in just the past year alone.

And finally, there is Hainan Island. Touted as China's playground for the rich, the place has the best climate and marinas for sailing, according to Horizen's Hung. There are currently more than 1,000 yachts officially registered on the mainland, and 37 percent of the most expensive ones are docked at one of Hainan's five yachting clubs.

But the common problem they all share is a lack of suitable marinas and berths. Even in Hainan, sailing activities remain centered in and around Sanya, the main resort area.

Smooth sailing is also made difficult by government rules which restrict where boats can sail in China, thus yacht owners need special permits to travel on their boats from province to province.

Yet, for yacht buyers and makers alike, what they would most like to see are reduced duties on imported boats - which currently stand at a stiff 43 percent. Hong Kong boatmaker Samuel Wong sees the high tax as the biggest barrier to the growth of China's yacht market, and which explains why so many mainland sailors have registered and anchored their newly-bought yachts in Hong Kong. And the number is growing fast.

Full story:

by Emma An, China Daily


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

11:15 PM Wed 22 Jun 2011 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

News - USA and the World

Gladwell's Line: A change of direction needed in the America's Cup *Feature by Richard Gladwell/,

Anna Tunnicliffe set to compete at the CrossFit Games by Anna Tunnicliffe, Pittsburgh, PA

Final day shakes up standings at Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek by Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014,

2014 Governor's Cup - Two former winners in the finals by Nancy Mellon, Corona del Mar, CA

America's Cup: Iain Murray explains reasons for Australian withdrawal *Feature by Richard Gladwell/, Auckland, New Zealand

2014 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship - Set to start
PWA Pozo World Cup - Moreno twins dominate home spot
ISAF Youth Worlds - Record breaking regatta in Tavira + Video
Melges 32 European Championship - Robertissima remains out front
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Italians take one-point lead
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Carlo Borlenghi
New York Yacht Club Race Week - Marstrom 32 fleet off to anxious start
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 3 images by Max Ranchi
CYC Race to Mackinac - Cruising fleet sets sail in 106th edition
Team Alvimedica getting a touchup
PWA Pozo World Cup - Plenty of drama on day 5
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship - Day 5 Videos
NYYC Race Week - High performance classes put on shoreside show
2014 Pacific Cup - 'Invisible Hand' the first boat to finish
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - B.C.'s Eric Holden skippers wins
America's Cup: Updates on Team Australia withdraw
J/70 North American titles - Brian Keane moves to top of leaderboard
2016-2017 America's Cup - Team Australia withdraws
VX One North American Championship - Chris Alexander takes charge
America's Cup: Team NZ disappointed, but on track after Australians go
America's Cup: Hamilton Island decides not to proceed with Challenge.   
America's Cup: Challenger of Record withdraws from Regatta   
WWA Wakeboard National Championships head to Waco   
Farr 40 West Coast Championship - Day 2   
RP52 Scarlet Runner sails in San Francisco   
2014 Governor's Cup - Nevin Snow and team on form   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Americans claim silver medals in Tavira   
2014 Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek - Day 1   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 2 images by Carlo Borlenghi   
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding World Cup to take place on Fuerteventura   
ISAF Youth Worlds - Medals decided in thrilling Tavira conclusion   
7th Annual Swim for Cystic Fibrosis to take place July 21st   
Melges 32 European Championship - Day 2 images by Max Ranchi   
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek, Day 2 - It just keeps getting better   
ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship final day preview   
AWT Pacasmayo Classic 2014 - Catching up with Levi Siver   
Top Kiwi Laser sailor just avoids being on downed airliner   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Trans-Atlantic: Team Alvimedica - 500 Miles   
Pacific Cup 2014 – Photos of ‘Invisible Hand’   
International 14 World Championships - No excuse for not being there   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT