Only a few pioneering brands can be attributed with establishing the current yacht building culture in Asia. Builders such as Cheoy Lee - who already held a rich history in ship repair in the 1800s - began building luxury yachts in the mid 1950s, and paved the way for builders such as Yantai Raffles (now Pride Mega Yachts), Kingship and IAG to appear across the millenium.
Today, new projects emerging from China perfectly illustrate the evolution which is gradually bringing the region into a recognised position in terms of global yacht building.
The Kingship yard (founded in 2003) grabbed the world’s attention and began the change in attitude when Green Voyager came to the fore. Among Kingship's project list, this innovative take on energy-efficient yachting was a big step forward for the Chinese yacht building community and was not the last.
Among the recent projects under build in China, the 88.8 metre superyacht Illusion which is due for delivery mid-2015 and is set to enter the Top 100 Largest Yachts List next year. Under construction with Pride Mega Yachts, this distinctive design was recently followed by the announcement that the yard has also introduced a new 108.8 metre superyacht concept named Tomorrow.
However, while world attitudes may be changing for the region, there are still some issues which are left to be tackled before market activity can boom. The lack of infrastructure, such as tax regulations, the lack of marinas in the region alongside any remaining stereotype surrounding ‘cheap’ Chinese yacht projects are changing.
While current problems facing the region may take some time to alter, the Visun Group are already building new infrastructure in Sanya with a fully functional Marina which hosts the annual Hainan Rendezvous. This show is both charging a front to bring potential yacht owners and guests into the yachting community as well as creating more structure for current yacht owners to enjoy what Asia has to offer.
The changing attitude of the world toward China’s yacht building industry is taking place gradually as the world begins to see the potential in Asia’s cultural move toward the water.