The booming yachting industry in China is attracting attention of major European industry players who are seeking to tap the growing interest of China's wealthy for the luxury lifestyle.
The Visun Royal Yacht Club from China's Hainan province recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Yacht Club of Monaco (YCM), one of the world's top yacht clubs, to jointly develop the yachting industry in China's tropical resort city Sanya. The Chinese club also became the first Asian member of YCM's La Belle Destinations, a network that gathers the world's owners of luxury super yachts.
"China's growing interest in yacht is a wonderful opportunity for the European yachting industry," said Bernard d'Alessandri, secretary general of the Yacht Club of Monaco.
"The yacht industry has great potential to grow in the future and that's the reason we want to be there," he said.
Today there are about 2,000 yacht owners in China and one quarter of them resides in Shanghai. The number of yacht owners in China is expected to exceed 100,000 in 2025, according to a report by YCM.
In 2011, the total sales of imported yachts in China reached $342 million and it is expected to triple its size over the next five years, the report said.
"We are already working to use the yachting industry as a platform to link Monaco and China. And we want to help the industry to be more connected with the Chinese market and be able to target the right place," said Catherine Fautrier, the ambassador of Monaco to China.
Wang Dafu, president of Shenzhen Visun Real Estate Co Ltd and founder of Visun Royal Yacht Club, said that the cooperation with YCM will allow the club to gain access to Monaco's professional experience in port management, member services, yacht sales and leasing.
"It is a must to cooperate with Monaco, which is considered the world's capital of yachting, if you want to enter this industry," Wang said.
The club recently also signed an agreement with Italian company International Tuscan Yacht Services Ltd to set up a joint venture and to construct a super-yacht service center in Sanya. The investment will cost several hundred million yuan, according to Hu Xiaoming, director of the sales and service center of Visun Royal Yacht Club.
Currently there are about 90 marina clubs in operation or under construction in China, most of which are located in the country's major coastal cities such as Qingdao, Shanghai, Zhuhai and Sanya, according to YCM's report.
Meanwhile, about 40 overseas foreign companies are manufacturing yachts in China and 100 foreign yacht brands are being marketed in the Chinese market, according to the report of YCM.
In January 2012, China's Shandong Heavy Industries Group Co Ltd acquired 75 percent stake in Italian luxury yacht manufacturer Ferretti Group for $292.7 million. The move is a reflection of the increasingly popular demand for high-end luxury yachts in China.
SOURCE: China Daily
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