Hainan Rendez-Vous shows extravaganza of luxury living in Sanya
Hainan, an island off the south coast known for its warm climate and laid-back attitude, has been designated by Beijing as the country’s tourism hotspot for the rich. The wealthy visitors are here for Hainan Rendez-Vous, an annual four-day extravaganza of luxury living that is now in its second year. (The Wall Street Journal is a media partner of Hainan Rendez-Vous.)
The best-heeled at the show were also given private tours by show organizers. One man who looked to be in his late 30s, sporting Salvatore Ferragamo loafers and a black Prada over-the-shoulder bag, was shown towards the docks, where he asked his guide: “And where are the biggest boats?”
Among the sales teams of some of the world’s top yacht makers, the mood is bouyant—thanks to the rising tide of Chinese wealth.
“It’s exciting,” said Veerle Battiau, director of London-based Virtruvius Yachts, who was visiting the show for the first time. “We knew we had to come see this, and that we couldn’t ignore this market any longer. And in this country, the rich—they’re so young, much younger than what we’d see in Europe.”
Sunseeker China has 4 boats on display — more than any other company — including an 88-foot yacht that costs around $6.5 million. On board each of the Sunseeker boats, a model in a black bikini poses on the deck. Joyce Yuan, marketing manager of Sunseeker, says the company hopes to sell six boats at this year’s show, up from four last year.
It’s a similar story at Simpson Marine, a Hong Kong-based broker that also has offices in China. Mark Woodmansey, a brand manager with the brokerage, said he has already sold three boats on the first day. The three, made by Italian maker Azimut and in the 40-to-60-foot range, cost $1.4 million and above. Mr. Woodmansey said several potential buyers have been sniffing around a 100-foot yacht — a boat that would set you back $10 million to $11.4 million.
“It’s extraordinary, totally unprecedented in Asia,” said Mr. Woodmansey.
In fact, yachting the development of yachting is still in its early stages in China. The waters around the country’s coast are strictly regulated, and restrictive visa regulations create problems for any boat owner hoping to hire a foreign crew. There are also few marinas in China that compare with those in top European or U.S. yachting destinations.
Prospective private-jet owners face similar problems: The government in China still strictly controls the country’s airspace, which makes private flights difficult. Still, there are changes afoot that would suit the buyers and sellers in Hainan. Two new marinas are coming in Hainan this year and there have been moves to open the skies.
For the exhibitors in Sanya, the potential has an allure.
“Even if we don’t sell anything this year,” said Ms. Battiau, “we’ll be back next year.”
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