Fancy mansions, fast cars - they are no longer the only ways for China's wealthy to spend their fortune. Many have taken to combining deal-making and pleasure on a luxury yacht.
However-- due to strict coastal regulations and lifestyle differences, China makes up only a few percentage points of the global yachting market.
"After consuming Bordeaux wine, fine jewellery, watches and sportcars, Chinese affluent people are now eyeing a new life style yachting. It's estimated that in the next 10 years, Chinese affluent people will buy over 50 thousand yachts, worth 100 billion yuan. "
The lucrative market has attracted major yacht brands from the globe, including top players from the UK and Italy. Byran Jones of English yacht maker Fairline says his business has enjoyed 100 percent annual growth in the past four years in China.
"Fairline's had tremendous success throughout the whole of Southeast Asia, and in particular China and Hong Kong through our distributor Jebsen. They've done a tremendous job. For the last four years, we are doubling our number of boats sold into Hong Kong and China. And we see that continuing. There's no reason for that to stop for the foreseeable future", Bryan Jones, Head of Sales of Australasia & The Americans, Fairline Boats said.
But China's pleasure boat market is still a very early age, partly due to a lack of historical boating culture. The US market consumes 25-30 thousand boats a year. But the Chinese market is only buying 10 percent of that between 2-3 thousand boats a year. Eddie Law of Princess Yachts says different culture between China and western markets require different marketing strategies.
"I think when it comes to yachting business and yachting enjoyment life-style, the Chinese is going the other way. I want my family, my business partners, I want the boat with a lot of people. Let's do barbecue together verses the Europeans I want my wife and myself go to somewhere for 3 months without anyone know where I am", Eddie Law, Executive Chair & Director of Princess Yachts South China said.
Though the culture's different, yacht makers are confident that when customers understand the capability and the quality of the products, they will be happier to use the boat to go out more to sea.
"I think once we have worked hard on delivering that whole experience to the owner, that's when this market will really take off", Will Green, Sales Director of Princess Yachts International said.
China's yacht market really took off in 2009. That was when, for the first time, the Chinese State Council asked Hainan Island to work out yacht management regulations and prepare to serve foreign yachts with infrastructure, as part of plans to build Hainan into an international resort island.
(Source: Google News: China.org.cn. View the original story here.)
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)