For a long period, due to the biased propaganda and misdirection of some media, films and television programs, yachts were regarded by the Chinese as a kind of luxury good. Celebrities love of yachts endorsed this leisure sport with the sense of luxury. As a result, this so-called high-grade luxury goods as the industry is known by the media, kept the masses away. Actually, yachts have become common among ordinary people in developed countries as a leisure activity.

The global yacht consumption market is diversified. The price of yachts ranges from tens of thousands of USD to hundreds of millions of USD. There are not only some super yachts exclusively belonging to wealthy citizens but also a large proportion of sailboats, fishing boats, speedboats and leisure kayaks that white collars and the middle class can afford.

North America occupies 55.9% of the world yacht market; the unit price of most yachts there is about USD 15,000-50,000 and the sales volume of luxury yachts only accounts for 2.5%. The European market occupies 38.4% of the world yacht market; yachts sold in this market are mainly large and luxury ones, but the average unit price is only USD 115,234 (CNY 800,000). Presently, the yacht prices in Europe and North America have further decreased. There are 17 million yacht users in the USA, of which 70% are users of sailboats and 80% are users of small and medium yachts with the price below USD 50,000. In the past few years, the average selling price of yacht in the USA market was USD 27,639 (less than CNY 200,000). 84% of the yachts in Europe are also sailboats and small & medium yachts with the price of tens of thousands of EUR.

On Dec. 1st, 2009, China’s State Council issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Tourism Industry. It proposed for the first time to cultivate the tourism industry into a strategic pillar industry of the Chinese national economy and support it as an emerging industry and economic growth point. It also declared to cultivate new hotspots of tourism consumption, support emerging tourism economies like cruise vessels and yachts, subsume the manufacture of tourism equipment like cruise vessels and yachts into the Catalog of Industries Encouraged by the State and actively support the development of tourism programs by utilizing beaches and islands.

On Dec. 31st, 2009, Opinions of the State Council on Propelling Construction of Hainan as an International Tourism Destination was issued. The construction of Hainan as an international tourism destination became a major strategy for the Chinese government, while yacht tourism became a major part of international tourism for Hainan. The Opinions clearly presents the plan to research and perfect the yacht management measures, create conditions to expand the open water appropriately, provide quality services for the mooring of overseas yachts in Hainan, support the holding of international sailboat rally race in Hainan, actively promote the construction of yacht docks and develop the manufacturing industry of tourism equipment like yachts and light floatplanes.

The Chinese government support policy has greatly promoted the Chinese yacht industry. Through development in recent years, the Chinese yacht economy gradually became familiar to Chinese consumers. In the coming years, yachts will become an aquatic leisure activity and prosperous developing sport in China.

The complete industry chain of the yacht economy covers the research, design and manufacture of yachts, services of yacht clubs, vacationing, recreation, tourism and business activities related to yachts, training and examination for yacht sailing licenses, construction and management of dedicated wharves, observation and forecast of hydro meteorology in yacht sea area, emergency rescue and salvage of yachts and people, yacht maintenance, construction and operation management of clubs, manufacture of spare parts, decoration of interior environment and special insurance, etc.

Besides being a healthy leisure sport, yachting is more importantly a sign of development of the local economy. It is reputed as the name card of city. The yacht industry not only boosts local catering, transportation, public service, maintenance and supporting facilities but also contributes to the optimization of the structure of aquatic tourism..

The demand for yachts as high-grade consumer goods will increase continuously along with economic development and an improvement of the purchase capacity. With the steady growth of the world yacht trade, the demand structure and supply structure of yachts is also changing. Taking the demand structure of yachts in developed countries as an example, on one hand, like such high-grade consumer goods as fashion garments, automobiles and TVs, the consumption of yachts will also be upgraded with a growth in income levels; thus, the consumption in developed countries gradually transfers to high-end yachts. On the other hand, the range of yacht consumers is extending from white collars to blue collars and from youngsters to the middle-aged; however, wealthy citizens who can afford high-grade luxury yachts are after all the minority; thus, the proportion of low-end and medium-end yachts in the absolute volume of yacht consumption is still larger and the consumption volume maintains growth.

With the boom of the yacht economy in China in recent years, more Chinese, especially urban white collars are beginning to learn about the yacht culture. Yachting is gradually becoming popular with people as a leisure sport. According to incomplete statistics, by the end of August 2010, the number of yacht clubs in China had exceeded 100.

Though the global yacht market was depressed by the international financial crisis in 2008-2009, the Chinese yacht market sustained growth. In 2009, the scale of the Chinese yacht market was about CNY 3 billion (USD 440 million) with the annual growth rate of about 10%. Presently, the Chinese yacht market is small but shows bright prospects. According to predictions, by 2015, the number of middle-class families in China will reach 100 million and the assets per family will be over USD 100,000. The 100 million middle-class families will form a huge potential market for yacht consumption. It is predicted that yachting will become a major entertainment source for the Chinese. Marine yachting will become a new highlight in marine tourism and individualized consumption.

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