Encouraging Chinese to own yachts is the biggest challenge this industry faces

While several marinas have been developed along the China’s eastern coast in the past five years, Chinese coastal waters are still strictly regulated, and import duties of 43 percent have dampened the development of a vibrant yachting culture.

In 2009, the Chinese yachting market was worth $440 million, according to a recent report by China Research and Intelligence, compared with a global yacht market estimated at around $3.4 billion.

The four-day Hainan Rendez-Vous brought together luxury brands catering to various market segments, like Martell Cognac and Maserati, with business-jet makers and international yachting brands, like Azimut, Ferretti Group, Feadship and Lürssen.

“Encouraging Chinese to own yachts is the biggest challenge this industry faces,” said Tork Buckley, a founder of Big Blue Consulting, which consults shipyards and clients on new construction build and refit specifications. “God knows, they have the money.”

For now, the first thing China’s new rich think about buying “is a name-brand watch, a Ferrari, an apartment,” said Mr. Buckley, who is also the Asia editor of the magazine The Superyacht Report. “They’re not thinking of yachts, yet.”


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