China has been recognised for some time as a market with exceptional potential for growth and a population with a voracious appetite for luxury experiences, including superyachts. Acting as a central focus point for that ground swell of interest in the yachting industry and its offshoots, the Hainan Rendezvous has been a critical factor in matching this consumer market with global industry leaders. We delved deeper.
The Hainan Rendezvous (HRV), situated on the burgeoning luxury destination of Sanya Island, has been in existence just four years. Within that four years, however, its reputation and ability to attract UHNWs, alongside leading global luxury brands has increased beyond all expectation.

The HRV’s strength lies in its ability to pull together local UHNWs and introduce them to the superyacht industry’s most-trusted brands.

Creating a space to explore and experience the superyacht lifestyle, with a full-sensory three day rendezvous, the HRV has proved immensely popular. Beyond mere popularity though, the HRV is playing an important role.

The mobility of the Chinese market is much-discussed and the fiscal ability of the local population to invest in superyachts well-recognised; but even so, conversion to sale was never going to be a sure thing.

China is a world leader in the consumption of luxury goods, but translating that appreciation of excellence to the superyacht sphere is not so straightforward. The local market is in its infancy in terms of yacht ownership, and the deciding factor which will see conversions on an ever-increasing appreciable scale is familiarity with the industry and lifestyle surrounding it. And that’s where HRV comes in.

Creating an exciting, immersive taste of the superyacht lifestyle, HRV works in a two-pronged approach; first by introducing the local market to the superyacht lifestyle, and second, by then matching them to industry leaders who can help meld that lifestyle seamlessly with the client’s own.

There’s another crucial factor at play here. While the Chinese market is indeed receptive and open to international superyacht industry leaders, make no mistake; it is a different market. A carbon replica of other nation’s industries is not going to cut it in China; these are discerning buyers with localised requirements which need to be addressed. Because of this, the platform HRV provides for consumer and industry to mingle, discuss developments, and learn a new way of operation together which works for this market, is critical.

There are differences in modes of use for Chinese superyacht buyers; they may not necessarily travel as far offshore as an American buyer or they may prefer a yacht geared more to corporate entertaining, than to sun worshipping, when compared to a European client.

Less time cruising from destination to destination means the balance of focus in the design suite which could ordinarily be spent on the engine room, can shift subtly to a focus on guest gathering areas. Many buyers in the market express an interest in the yachting lifestyle which leans more toward day trip than longer stretches underway, prompting designers to offer up fewer sleeping areas in exchange for larger entertaining spaces.

All factors of course, which ultimately depend on the individual client’s objectives when making their foray into yachting, and all of which are impossible to predetermine without having first established a healthy, respectful working relationship between client and industry.

Founded in 2010, the HRV has a keen interest in fostering the connections between global superyacht industry and local market in China. Understanding the need to introduce the yachting lifestyle, before meaningful inroads can be made into the local market, HRV acts as a networking hub and gathering place, with galas, yachting soirees, workshops and entertainment designed to bring a Riviera flavour to Sanya and act as a lifestyle experience.

Further cementing the connection between the traditional bastions of the superyacht industry and exciting new frontiers, this year’s Monaco Yacht Show played host to a conference bringing together many leading yacht brands, the Monaco ambassador to China, Catherine Fautrier, and the Yacht Club de Monaco, among others, to discuss highlights of the 2014 HRV.

To be held from 27-30 March at the Sanya Visun Royal Yacht Club, 2014’s event will feature a new superyacht-themed pavilion designed to improve China’s high-end tourism industry.

“Hainan Rendezvous’ mission is to lead the high-quality lifestyle and redefine the high-end lifestyle in China,” said China Visun chairman, Wang Dafu when discussing the fifth edition of the Rendezvous. The event has a history of selling out months in advance, a precedent which looks set to be upheld following the interest in HRV’s 2014 highlights previewed at Monaco.


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