It is the Year of the Water Dragon in China, and the leviathans will celebrate their reign at the upcoming Hainan Rendez-Vous boat show. Ocean giants present at the event will include more than ten 40+ metre vessels among a fleet of 130 yachts. The event takes place from April 5th to April 8th on the sparkling shores of Sanya on Hainan Island.
Now in only its third year, the Hainan Rendez-Vous has already become the region’s largest yacht show, a major exhibition for the corporate aviation industry, and a gallery of pre-eminent lifestyle brands. Art displays, entertainment, educational workshops and social events run throughout the four-day affair, giving visitors and sponsors abundant opportunities to mix, mingle, and enjoy themselves. About 15,000 visitors from all corners of greater China attended last year’s event, which received wide coverage in domestic and world media.
Sponsors and exhibitors have praised the show’s eclectic mix of industries and attractions, saying that it increases networking opportunities and, ultimately, business transactions. 
In preparation for the 2012 edition, organisers have significantly expanded the show exhibition area through the use of five special purpose barges. All berths and exhibition booths sold out by late last December despite the additional space.
At this year’s Hainan Rendez-Vous, an increased number of exclusive events will serve as an efficient and exciting networking platform for VIP visitors and the show’s key exhibitors and sponsors. These events will include exclusive galas, yachting soirées and cocktail parties. A spacious new VVIP Lounge with corridor to an airport limousine service will be a center for high-level meetings.
Major shipyards from overseas are returning to Sanya again this year in a clear affirmation of trust in the show concept introduced by China Rendez-Vous in 2009. The shipyards include Lürssen, Heesen Yachts, Blohm+Voss, Royal Huisman, Kingship, Oceanco, Feadship, Brunswick, Jeanneau, Beneteau, CNB, Azimut – Benetti, San Lorenzo, Ferretti Group, Marquis, Sunseeker China, Princess Yachts and many more.
Megayacht builders have found Hainan Rendez-Vous especially interesting because the event attracts many of China’s most elite businessmen. At least 300 ultra high net worth individuals will be flown as VVIP guests to and from the show on private jets this year by participating jet manufacturers.
The big water dragons at Hainan Rendez-Vous 2012 will include the majestic 50 metre motor yacht Sensation built by the New Zealand company of the same name; the spacious 44.65 metre Helix built by Feadship; the 50 metre Northern Sun, a unique expedition yacht converted from a Japanese marine research vessel; the impressive Lohengrin, a 49 metre by Trinity; and the beautiful 57 metre sailing yacht SY Montigne.
Also sure to delight will be Horizon’s new Lady Gaga, a 33.5 metre superyacht designed specifically for the Chinese market, as well as the sleek 38.5 metre Onyx by Sanlorenzo.
The big increase in vessels at this year’s Hainan Rendez-Vous further confirms the organisers’ prescience in choosing Sanya four years ago as the location to introduce their show concept. At the time, the city was already developing quickly as a tourist resort with many new five-star hotels, but yachting infrastructure was minimal.
Since then Sanya has continued to develop at an amazing pace, its growing importance on the international scene most recently spotlighted by Caesar’s Entertainment announcement that it plans to build a 36 billion yuan resort and entertainment complex in the city, and by the inclusion of Sanya in the Volvo Ocean Race now in progress.
Most exciting of all is the development of Sanya’s yachting infrastructure. Ten new marina projects are either under construction or under planning in Sanya, among them the city’s first public marina. Sanya is expected to boast 6,000 berths ten years from now.
The nationwide picture is even more titillating to boat manufacturers. Over 30 marinas are currently under construction in China, with nearly 200 more waterfront projects either under planning or getting underway, according to yacht industry research specialist Marine Dragon Consulting. The company believes that over half the boats sold in the country during 2011 were over 60 feet in length.  
The contribution that Hainan Rendez-Vous has made to development of the island was officially recognised last January by the Hainan provincial government, which awarded show organisers the highest prize in a contest to promote development of the island’s exhibition industry.
"Hainan Rendez Vous is now a true international yachting platform with industry leaders coming from all over the world. The bet taken four years ago to bring into China an event introducing the yachting lifestyle is starting to be emulated in other parts of the country, with secondary cities especially interested in learning more about this new trend," says Delphine Lignieres CEO and Founder of the Hainan Rendez Vous. She adds, "If you are in China and want to experience this new lifestyle in its purest form, then do visit our shore this year — April 5th to 8th on the beautiful shores of Sanya, the new Chinese Riviera!"
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