China / Society

China to build 1st large luxury cruise liner

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-07-25 21:01

XIAMEN - Construction on the first large luxury cruise liner in China began Wednesday in the coastal city of Xiamen near Taiwan.

The project is included in a package of infrastructure facilities aimed at boosting the city's tourism and shipping industries, local officials said.

The Southeast China International Shipping Center package has 10 projects led by the construction of a 100,000-tonne luxury cruise liner, a cruise terminal and a shipping business center. Combined investment tops 16.73 billion yuan ($2.63 billion).

The projects, all located in the Haicang district of Xiamen city near the Taiwan Strait, are key to promoting the city as a future shipping hub in southeast China, and they are expected to lead the economic growth of the region, said Kang Tao, deputy mayor of Xiamen.

Details of the cruise projects were not immediately publicized, but local media had previously reported that the cruise liner, with an estimated cost of 3.1 billion yuan, would not likely to be tested in water until 2018.

The cruise industry is believed to be part of Xiamen's economic structural reform to shift focus to domestic consumption -- particularly from the booming middle class -- to spur economic growth.

Xiamen was mostly known for its concentration of export-oriented factories until tourism took off in recent years, putting the city among China's top leisure and relaxation destinations.

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