Asia provides fertile ground for the luxury market - including boats

Andy Treadwell (left) Managing Director, Informa Yacht Group; Arthur Tay, Executive Chairman and CEO, SUTL Group; Michael Tan, COO, Leisure and Lifestyle Division, SUTL Group.
Singapore Yacht Show
Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, has just published its first ?Wealth Report’, focusing on Asia, providing a comprehensive and exclusive analysis of the High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) landscape in the region.

The report has been prepared in close cooperation with CLSA, Asia’s leading independent brokerage and investment group, and states that private wealth in Asia will reach an extraordinary 13 trillion dollars by 2015 - with China and India forecast to contribute over 40% of global growth alone. Indonesia is expected to have the highest growth rate in terms of HNWI over a 5-year period. And with Singapore currently having the highest concentration of millionaire households, and Japan also high in the list of millionaire households, Asia provides fertile ground for the luxury market.

When it comes to the superyacht market, reports still show a steady upward trend. But, as sales slow down in the well-established markets in North America and Europe, the yachting industry turns to explore opportunities in other parts of the world. The buoyant economy in South East Asia is well documented and thus of increasing interest, as local high net worth individuals are turning to the superyacht sector to invest their time and wealth. With these factors in play, Asia is now a major focus for the Informa Yacht Group’s boating and superyacht events.

Andy Treadwell, Managing Director of the Informa Yacht Group, explains: 'The market is changing quickly, with increasing numbers of Asians buying yachts. The success of the Singapore Yacht Show in April this year reflected the keen interest and buying capacity of individuals in this region, who are starting to explore one of the West’s favoured pastimes. Aligning ourselves with changes in the market is of course essential, so we are now focusing our efforts on identifying the more intrepid amongst the fast-growing community of newly wealthy people in Asia. We need to meet the expectations of these buyers by providing a suitable sales platform for yacht builders, brokers and suppliers – who are in turn looking for new markets, given the depressed climate back home.'

The Informa Yacht Group currently runs two leisure marine exhibitions in Asia, the Singapore Yacht Show and the Phuket International Boat Show, as well as several conferences, and as the market opens up both events are set to broaden their scope. Singapore is the hub of a growing regional market and an exciting new destination for international cruising yachts.

Singapore was put firmly on the map of visiting superyachts in 2007 with the opening of the ONE°15 Marina Club, capable of accommodating mega-yachts of up to 200ft in deep water. In three years, the number of visiting superyachts has jumped from 10 in 2007, to 81 in 2010, and is anticipated to increase significantly this year and thereafter.

Singapore’s commitment to the industry is reflected in the forming of the Superyacht Singapore Association, 'promoting Singapore as a Superyacht destination and a hub to create economic value for Singapore in the superyacht industry.' But it’s not just big boats; most superyacht owners 'start small', and registration for all pleasure craft with Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority has grown by 12% between 2006 and 20101.

Informa Yacht Group has some ambitious plans for the Singapore Yacht Show for April 2012, aiming to double the event in size in response to the explosion in the Asian market for pleasure craft. Says Treadwell: 'This year, there will also be a range of smaller luxury vessels on show. Our clients have indicated the wish to be able to see tenders and smaller boats too. There is a big demand for yachts in the 50 to 80 foot range that will better engage the needs of many first time buyers. At the same time, there will be many more boats to view at the separate superyacht end, reflecting the needs of American and European builders who are keen to showcase their products in the growing superyacht market in the region.'