(Yicai Global) March 21 -- Ctrip.Com International Ltd. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will close their joint venture SkySea Holding International Ltd., thus ending the three-year operation of China's first domestic luxury cruise firm, they have jointly announced, Beijing Business Today reported today.
This announcement yesterday drew the curtain down on the Chinese cruise market's halcyon era lasting since 2006, with its constant increases in business and investment by international cruise lines. This lured domestic companies to launch into this seemingly boundless sea by forming cruise enterprises. Spiraling competition drove domestic cruise concerns to adopt widespread low pricing strategies to jettison the less competitive. The sector thus drifted into ever colder currents.
International cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and Costa Crociere SpA successively steered major liners to Chinese waters from 2014 to 2017 to boost their business, including the MS Quantum of the Seas and the Ovation of the Seas, two titanic luxury liners of 168,000 tons. In 2017, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Princess Cruises operator Carnival Corp. sent new liners of over 100,000-ton volumes, spurring cruel competition in China's cruise market.
Last year's figures for the exit-and-entry of cruises with Chinese passengers registered 4955,000 persons/times in an 8 percent annual rise. The market's rising trend notwithstanding, growth has ebbed even though passenger flow had risen at over 40 percent to 50 percent for ten consecutive years, per the latest statistics by the Chinese Cruise Industry Development Conference.
The two companies each held a stake of 35% when the JV firm initially formed, with the rest owned by SkySea Cruise and Pantheon Ventures Inc.