If someone asks which country has the most potential rich person who can afford a super yacht, it is definitely China. As one of the world's largest economies, China already has about 11,000 "super rich" with assets of more than $ 30 million. However, the super yacht industry has not made much money in China so far.
According to official definitions, super yachts are luxury cruisers with a waterline longer than 24 meters. In general, each super yacht needs to be operated by a professional team, and the price of a single super yacht is at least $ 6 million. Of the world's existing 4,836 super yachts, only 34 are in China, accounting for about 0.7% of the total.
Part of the reason why super yachts are not so popular in China is culture. The beauty of a yacht is to enjoy the sea and the sun. Traditionally, many Chinese people avoid the sun, and they can't relax during their breaks. The Chinese are not very accustomed to staying away from the hustle and bustle, especially the European leisure style. If they buy a yacht, it is often for other motivations-for the wealthy Chinese, the yacht is a commercial tool, not a leisure item. Chinese customers seem to prefer the "small open space" super yacht and want to "limit the time to stay outside."
Super yachts did not become the playtools of Chinese elites, and there may be some more practical reasons. China's luxury goods import tax has reached 43%. In addition, China also lacks experienced crew members, so yacht buyers need to hire Europeans to sail them, which will inevitably require them to obtain work visas. These will increase the cost of buying a yacht.
In addition, the Chinese government has been vigorously rectifying corporate corruption in recent years. Some wealthy people worry that traveling on a yacht or asking customers or officials to enjoy the sea may expose them to the investigators. There are also geographic issues. For Europeans, another attraction of yachts is that they can sit on the islands of the Mediterranean. But in China, there are very few marinas like Nansha Marina and Yacht Club. In addition, China still lacks some infrastructure to support super yachts, such as docks. Not to mention that there is no coastline as beautiful as the Mediterranean.
Of course, various factors have not prevented a few Chinese super-rich people from buying and retaining yachts-only they have bought them in Europe, the United States and other parts of Asia. Although the Chinese super yacht market is growing slowly, it is still growing. Nigel Stewart, managing director of yacht manufacturing company Spirits Yachts, said: "Chinese who want to buy a super yacht may buy in Europe or other countries in Asia." He noted that Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are all "excellent sailing destination". European yacht brokers often attend yacht shows in Shanghai, Dalian and Hainan, hoping to attract the wealthy Chinese who dream of traveling by yacht around Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Capri.
Although China itself is not a good place for yacht tourism, as a yacht production base, it has accumulated a certain reputation, especially lower manufacturing costs. According to the International Boat Magazine, China currently ranks 8th among the top ten super yacht producers. According to a survey by the Auckland Municipal Government, China currently produces 28 super yachts a year, with production bases in Shandong and Guangdong respectively. Compared with Italy's output of 269 yachts last year, China's output appears insignificant. But a 43% import tax on luxury goods also means that China's domestic yachts will be more attractive as long as demand continues to grow.
At the same time, many have not given up the Chinese market. Most super yacht brokers and manufacturers have stated that they are just waiting for the time. Some companies are already testing the Chinese market, such as opening stores in Hong Kong or Singapore, both of which have many Chinese immigrants, and the infrastructure there is more suitable for yachting. British yacht design company Spirit Yachts opened a branch in Hong Kong last year, and Burgess Yachts in London will also open a office in Singapore later this year. Burgess Yachts CEO Jonathan Beckett said: "We are slowly preparing for the improvement of the Chinese market. By then, it will be a huge market."
Many people agree that the Chinese era is coming, but they may have to wait a dozen years or more. "Is China a new market for super yachts? The answer is at least not yet. The main markets are still North America, Europe, the Gulf and the Middle East." In the traditional market, sales are also rising. According to Wealth-X company data, the world’s super rich spent $ 22 billion on yachts last year.
The yacht industry must understand that it took 30 years for the industry to take shape in the west. It will take time for yachts to catch on in the east.