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Wanda steers yacht maker to its home shores

Updated: 2013-11-11 08:09
By Cecily Liu in London ( China Daily)

British company plans to build vessels in China, ending imports

Wanda steers yacht maker to its home shores

Sunseeker International still speaks proudly of its British roots. Provided to China Daily

A British luxury yacht maker says it will set up a small boat-manufacturing unit in China to make full use of the fair wind in the country's burgeoning yacht market and to cut costs.

"Our existing yacht manufacturing facility in Poole, England, is unable to handle the growing global demand for luxury yachts, especially from China," says Stewart McIntyre, managing director of Sunseeker International.

Sunseeker is well-known for the high-speed boats that are seen in James Bond movies. It was recently in the news after Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda bought a 91.81 percent stake in the company for 320 million pounds ($495 million).

Although the ownership has changed hands, the company still talks proudly of its British roots. "We have British DNA within us," McIntyre says.

"The best part of the deal with Dalian Wanda was that there were no job losses. All the 2,400 local jobs in Poole will be protected, while design, manufacturing and the intellectual property of Sunseeker will remain within the UK."

McIntyre says keeping the business centered in the UK was an essential part of the deal. "It is part of our agreement with Dalian Wanda and more or less on the lines of the deal that Jaguar Land Rover inked with the Tata Group of India," McIntyre says.

At the same time, McIntyre admits that there are several advantages in teaming up with Dalian Wanda in the Chinese market, especially by building Sunseeker clubs at hotel resorts and creating a new Sunseeker manufacturing facility in China for the domestic market.

Dalian Wanda was set up in 1988 as a residential real estate company. Since 2005, it has diversified into areas such as hotels, cinemas, karaoke centers and department stores.

McIntyre says it would be helpful for Dalian Wanda to include Sunseeker clubs into its hotel resort development plans, so that holiday goers would gain more access and awareness of Sunseeker's products.

He says the first Sunseeker club in collaboration with Dalian Wanda is already past the concept stage for a hotel resort in Qingdao, Shandong province, and a few more are at different planning stages.

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