With the successful completion of SO! DALIAN earlier in the summer, and the major European yacht shows (where Chinese wish to attend) about to begin, it’s an opportune time to reflect on the growing yachting market in China. There are certainly challenges ahead as the market develops, but events like SO! DALIAN leave no doubt that there is real momentum behind the industry and that over the long term yachting will continue its upward trend in the Chinese market.
The boating industry faces some constraints, mainly related to taxation as customs and import taxes can add 43% to the bottom line. However, China presents a major advantage over other countries in its advances infrastructure to support the growth of the industry. There certainly is work to be done, specifically in the service areas of fuelling, hiring and training professional crews and after-sales services, but mainland China is steadily making strides to compete with the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore to deliver first class service across the board to yacht owners. As the boating lifestyle continues to take shape in the country, China’s HNWI will continue to gravitate toward yacht ownership, allowing the full scope of products and services to grow organically.
In order to meet their needs and woo future Chinese customers, well-established brands like Sanlorenzo, Ferretti, Sunreef Yachts and several others do not hesitate to ask their designers to rethink their layout and usual patterns to allow room for karaoke installations, traditional round dining tables and similar Chinese-only customizations.
Proving them right, a recent survey by the Hurun group revealed that more than half of mainland Chinese with a net-worth of $1.5 million or more were contemplating buying a yacht, a figure that should be enough to convince shipyards, brokers and architects to keep China on their radars.
About the recent SO! DALIAN event
More than 90 brands, sponsors and exhibitors from all corners of the world supported the first edition of SO! DALIAN, held in early July in Northern China. Acknowledging the strength of the platform and the quality of the guests, brands headquartered overseas sent representatives directly from the head office as opposed to relying on the local teams to ensure that their brand positioning was accurately presented. In its first edition, SO! DALIAN saw attendance of the key players in the yacht world including Luerssen, Sanlorenzo, Benetti, Arcadia, Jeanneau, Beneteau Group, Ferretti Group and many more. The strategy proved to be right, as numerous brands are already reporting that on-site sales occurred.
One of the challenges of drawing a large contingent of HNWIs to SO! DALIAN was the fact that the boating industry has not yet made significant inroads in the region. In order to bridge this gap, China Rendez-Vous, recognizing the popularity of equestrian culture in the north, brought the first ever Beach Polo World Cup to SO! DALIAN to offer equestrian lovers a taste of something new. This also acted as a major draw to bring people to the show to further the education process of the boating way of life. The Polo arena and hospitality suite excellent opportunities to share quality time with family and friends while taking in the ‘Sport of King’ played on sand. “More than a boat show, we want SO! DALIAN to become a comprehensive platform for HNWIs and brands to interact. Yachting is the core but we have to see the bigger picture and integrate activities like Polo, Golf, Gala Dinners, Wine tasting and much more to make sure the very busy Chinese potential buyers will show up and be happy to come back year after year,” comments Delphine Lignieres on the principles of SO! DALIAN.
Yacht shows in China
As with every emerging market, China attracts a lot of attention and the yachting industry here is increasing rapidly. Marinas are being built and some very good ones already exist along the coast. Shipyards are slowly opening branches or working with representatives to develop their network in China. And everybody knows yacht shows are key to this development.
But in China, yacht shows can sometimes be disconnected from the industry needs and reflect a more singular approach: It seems as if every marina wants its own boat show, not to promote the industry, but the marina itself. Only in China do you see a yacht show being held to promote a marina and not an industry. Shows are popping up and creating a burden on brand budgets. “Can I afford to join?” or “Can I afford to miss this show?” The arbitrage is not easy, especially on a market where returns are still opaque.
To balance this phenomenon, Delphine Lignieres and her team at China Rendez-Vous decided to establish a coherent calendar of events including 2 flagship marine lifestyle events concentrated in the North and in the South respectively. “Our exhibitors know what we aim at, they know the kind of shows or events we will establish and we want to make it easier for them to develop in China and to contribute to the growth of the whole industry” explains Lignieres on the strategy behind her shows. “Maybe we suffered a step back this year having a local company using our identity (company name, copyrights, designs and letting people think there were no changes), but the outcome proved to demonstrate that organising a successful yacht show is not solely about the location: it is about the team you have, about the efforts you put into it, about the coherence of the whole project and its primary objective of developing the industry.”
About China Rendez-Vous
China Rendez-Vous Ltd, founded by Ms. Delphine Lignieres in 2009, is an organiser of acclaimed high-end lifestyle events in China and works throughout the entire country on comprehensive projects that create the perfect networking platform for an extensive list of VIPs and associated brands. Dedicated to and specialized in the China high-end market for several years, China Rendez-Vous has a targeted database and accumulated knowledge, contributing to meet the goals and needs of each of its partners and participants. Its reputation has been growing in China and overseas, gaining the trust of the world’s most elegant brands with great success.
» Website: www.chinarendezvous.com