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Some have no choice but to live on water, while others chose to do so. In any case, living on water may as well be pleasant and comfortable. The solution below offers a number of advantages in comparison with standard constructions in terms of both comfort levels and the manufacturing method.
(Published on September 2007 – JEC Magazine #35)
It is widely accepted that China has become a low-cost manufacturing base for companies hailing from every corner of the world. Spread across almost every major industry, the accompanying economic boom fuelled by these companies has brought prosperity to China who, after more than two decades of sustained growth, has turned its back on the past.
The accompanying fast-growing demand for leisure and recognition has brought many luxury goods and premium brands to China seeking a share of this new buying power. China has half-a-million US dollar millionaires and its luxury goods market is already the third largest in the world. Growing at 20% annually, it will become the second largest luxury market by 2015. Naturally, the boating industry is riding this wave, making China one of the hottest emerging markets in the boating industry. Currently, it is estimated that over 50 marinas are either being planned or under construction in China.
Surpassing all expectations, the Showboat International Global Order Book for 2006 (for boats longer than 80 feet) ranked China sixth among the top ten builder nations. The Cheoy Lee Shipyard ranked as the world’s seventeenth largest super-yacht builder. At the small end of the size range, some 150 yards are building various types of boats and local craft. Approximately 20% of these yards have the capability to build export quality. Marine Dragon Consulting estimated the export value of pleasure boats at USD 140 million in 2005 and USD 180 million in 2006, resulting in a 30% growth rate.
In the context of globalisation and concentration of the world boating industry, China appears as a possible contender for boat building and as a new market for yacht and marine equipment exports.
Chinese yards can provide many opportunities for European, Australian and American boat builders, whose competitiveness and profitability are declining. Chinese yards are rapidly accumulating experience and improving their technology. Their achievements and results in the manufacture of both sailing and motor boats are most convincing.
Chinese shipyards may represent a significant outcome for international marine equipment manufacturers looking for new markets around the world.
As most of the production is exported, China-based shipyards are buying marine equipment according to the final destination of the product. From air-conditioning to marine engines, from fibreglass to gelcoats, from winches to blocks, shackles or sails, the Chinese shipyard market for marine equipment is huge.
A market worth USD 30 millions
While there are many low-cost manufacturing bases in the world, what makes China attractive is the prospect of a developing domestic market.
By surveying local yacht dealers, Marine Dragon Consulting valued the 2006 Chinese boating market at USD 30 million, a 40% increase over the previous year. There is common agreement among most of the big European and US players that China’s market has great potential.
It still remains hard to predict when China’s luxury boat market will evolve from its current emerging stage to a degree of maturity. Between three, five and ten years are the popular figures touted in reports and surveys and during conversations at boat show bars.
On the ground and on water, the local boating media, boat show organisers, sailing federations and associations, sponsors, marina developers and experienced sailors have all heavily contributed to spreading the yachting culture and the lifestyle that goes with it. 2006 has been a year full of key dates for the Chinese yachting industry.