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China to build top-class yacht port in Tianjin
( Xinhua )

TIANJIN - China plans to build a top-class yacht port in North China's Tianjin municipality by the year-end, which will allow the country's super-rich to dock their luxury vessels at a port near the capital Beijing, local officials said Wednesday.

The port will cover an area of 900,000 square meters in Tianjin's booming Binhai district and  will have 750 berths to accommodate 300-foot-long(about 91.5 meters) luxury yachts, Yang Shihao, a deputy head of Binhai district, said at a tourism  festival Wednesday.

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Five-star hotels, commercial streets, along with yacht manufacturing and repair bases, will also be set up in the port area.

Yang said the project would cost 9 billion yuan (about $1.35 billion).

Only people with an annual income of over 200,000 yuan ($30,000) will be allowed to sign up for membership to the yacht club to rent a luxury vessel, while members who intend to buy a yacht should have an annual income of over 2 million yuan ($300,000), officials said.

China has seen a fast-expanding middle class in recent years. The latest Hurun Rich List, published Tuesday, says the country now has 1,363 billionaires;  97 of them boast personal wealth of over 10 billion yuan.

"The time is actually perfect in China for the yacht industry to take off," said David Brightling, general manager of the yacht club of HK-based Rainbow Land Holdings Ltd, one of the sponsors of Dongjiang yacht port.

"I think one of the things we can do is to train young people to drive any kind of boat and let them have more fun," Brightling added.

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