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Yacht industry sails ahead

By Wang Wen and Li Fangfang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-12 09:06

Yacht industry sails ahead

Yachts at a marina in Shanghai. China's fast-growing economy is giving more people the ability to buy pleasure boats. Pei Xin / Xinhua

The number of leisure boats in the country is expected to increase to 100,000 by 2020

China's yacht industry is expected to enter a new and promising stage with full-speed growth in the coming years, a sector association said.

The number of yachts in the country will increase to about 100,000 in 2020 from about 3,000 last year, with the value of China's yacht business estimated to be 50 billion yuan ($8.16 billion) by then, the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association said in its annual report released in May.

The government's support for marine tourism is also a positive signal for the industry, said Zheng Weihang, secretary-general of the association.

An improvement in infrastructure for yachts, such as marinas, was urged in an outline for the tourism and leisure industry released by the State Council in February, Zheng said.

Also, China's fast-growing economy is giving more people the ability to buy pleasure boats, which explains the surge in interest for boating and boat ownership in recent years.

In addition, yacht manufacturers are finding ways to make the boats easier to operate, industry insiders said.

"I think that in the near future, boating will become a new lifestyle for mainland residents, who prefer self-driving, just like it happened in Hong Kong," said Lars Petersen, general manager of Jebsen Marine, the sole dealer of Italian yacht brand Riva and the United Kingdom's Fairline.

He said that China's yacht industry is now in its first phase, but that it will soon move to the second stage in terms of different usage of the boats.

The second stage means that customers will increasingly change their use of the boats from business purposes to entertainment activities, which will add to the demand for smaller yachts to enlarge the clients' portfolios, Petersen said.

The industry's association echoed Petersen's words.

"Due to the growing number of wealthy people and an upgrade in consumption levels, the demand for small and medium-sized yachts will explode," the CCYIA said in its report. "The market size of the private yacht market will be about 35 billion yuan by 2020."

The increasing sales of private yachts are also an indication of the country's improved luxury-consumption patterns.

The Fortune Character Institute - a luxury industry research and consulting company - said in its China Yacht Report that the total revenue of the country's yacht market reached 1.75 billion yuan in 2012, with the luxury yacht sector accounting for 780 million yuan.

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