Yachting sector surfing a wave of high interest
Updated: 2011-12-03 08:03
By Wang Wen (China Daily)
HAIKOU - During the next 10 years, China will have 100,000 new yachts and the market will be worth between 50 billion ($7.8 billion) and 100 billion yuan, a yacht industry report shows.
China's yacht market has experienced rapid development in the last two years. By the end of 2010, there were 1,500 yachts in China, with 300 of them being high-end vessels with a combined worth more than 5 million yuan, according to a report released by the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA) on Friday.
Zheng Weihang, secretary-general of the CCYIA, said that there were 300 yachts in China in 2008 and only 102 of them were registered with the Maritime Safety Administration.
Distributors of international yacht brands have noted the fast development of China's yacht industry.
"The business has improved since 2008 and we are registering a double-digit rise annually," said Li Xinli, general manager of Hainan Oler Yacht Sales Co Ltd, which distributes a number of international brands in Hainan province.
Cai Zhiyi, sales manager of Sunseeker Asia Limited, said the company's business in China has the best performance in Asia, with turnover doubling last year.
Cai's company distributes the Sunseeker brand, which are high-end yachts made in Britain and priced between 10 million and 200 million yuan.
Since the brand came to China in 2003, the company's turnover has seen an average annual increase of between 20 and 30 percent, Cai said.
Chinese consumers have become more interested in larger and more expensive boats, although the best sellers are still middle-sized yachts (60 to 70 feet in length) and costing between 10 and 20 million yuan, he said.
"We started selling boats worth 200 million yuan in China this year," Cai added.
Zheng Weihang said the Chinese market has huge potential. He said yachting could become a major lifestyle choice for Chinese residents in the future.
However, the country's total market is still tiny compared with the global market.
Statistics from the CCYIA report show that the total number of yachts globally was 22,900,560 in 2008 and 15,699,100 of them were in the United States.
Yachts were seen as luxury goods when they first appeared in China. That view hampered the industry's development, as many people saw luxury goods simply as a prerogative of the elite, Zheng said at the 2011 China Yachting Industry Forum in Haikou, which ends on Saturday.
According to the CCYIA report, middle- and low-end yachts worth below 3 million yuan will be the main products and the middle-income group will be the major consumers in the next five years.
The middle-income group can afford middle- and low-end yachts, priced at about 20,000 yuan, but as yet there are no public marinas available for them, Zheng said.
"More efforts need to be paid to the planning of public yacht marinas at local government level."
He said in Western countries, most yachts are middle- and low-end vessels and are owned by the middle-classes who moor them at the numerous public marinas.
Major coastal cities in China, including Qingdao, Haikou, Xiamen and Fuzhou, have already proposed plans for public marinas.
The government in Haikou is planning to construct 1,000 berths in the next five years and 30 percent of them will be allocated for public service, said Deng Xiaogang, the deputy mayor of Haikou.
Some regulations are also posing problems for the country's yacht industry.
"Taxes are an obstacle for the industry in China, because they make yachts too expensive," said Julian Goldie, chairman of the Yacht Harbour Association in the UK.
Because most yachts in China are imported from the West, local consumers have to pay a tax levy as high as 45 percent, Goldie said, noting that the tax is no more than 20 percent in the West.
Strict rules on water space also make sailing difficult, said Cheng Juehao, associate professor at Shanghai Maritime University.
(China Daily 12/03/2011 page9)