Chinese Yacht Producers Venture Into Charter Trips to Add Sail

Li Yan / Yicai


(Yicai Global) Dec 12. -- A market player Yicai Global interviewed piloted yacht hire operations is an important move to rev up the yacht industry.

“Chinese people don’t lack the means or interest in travel and water entertainment,” says Yang Xinfa, director of the yacht committee of China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry. The key is how to tap into such a massive market. “Developing yacht charter businesses may be an effective solution to ending the current market downturn,” Yang said.

The Chinese yacht market has hit headwinds in recent years. According to Yang, over 75 percent of Chinese yacht producers are suffering from dwindling orders. Most yacht clubs are bereft of customers and yacht sales have struck a reef, with yacht fairs in the doldrums.

Why are so many yachts idling at their moorings? “People who have the money to buy yachts lack time to enjoy them, and those who can’t afford yachts can’t cruise on them either,” said Wang Dafu, chairman of Visun Group.

The new direction is offering yacht tour services for the general public, which is known as “uni-marketing,” Du Yanxin, deputy general manager at Visun Group’s Visun Royal Yacht Club, said. A new product developed by the club lets customers sail a yacht at the price of CNY358 (USD52), including a one-hour cruise and a seafood buffet.

“We received 3,000 orders last year and 11,000 orders so far this year.” Needless to say, the orders also include other products in addition to the CNY358 deal.

“We created the yacht club and brought together yachts from various sources. It doesn’t make sense to let yachts sit idle in the water, because maintenance alone costs a bundle. We rent the yachts to customers and the owners reap the benefits,” says a source at the Visun club. In the past, yacht hires were very expensive due to relatively long duration of product cycles. Today, it only costs CNY2,000-3,000 to charter a yacht for two to three hours.

“It’s not expensive. It earns customers respect from their friends and offers great value for money at the same time. It’s actually a big market,” says the source.