China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association predicts boat sales of US$8.

China (Shanghai) International Boat Show. Everything’’s getting bigger...
According to the annual report of the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association, the number of leisure boats and yachts in China is anticipated to increase to 100,000 by 2020. This, according to a report from China Daily, compares with just 3,000 craft in 2012.

The report sees China’s yacht industry, which comprises in excess of 3,000 companies, entering a new expansion phase over the next few years. As part of this, the value of yacht business undertaken is forecast to rise to around RMB50bn (US$8.16bn) by 2020. Zheng Weihang, Association Secretary, says: 'Government support for marine tourism is also a positive signal for the industry.'

Zheng outlined a need for more yacht sector infrastructure including marinas. China’s strong economy is allowing more people to buy boats, which is underpinning the growth in the yacht industry. He also pointed out that Chinese manufacturers were learning how to build yachts more easily and faster.

Lars Petersen, General Manager of Jebsen Marine, which imports Fairline and Riva yachts, says: 'I think that in the near future, boating will become a new lifestyle for mainland residents who prefer self-driving, just like it happened in Hong Kong. China’s yacht industry is now in its first phase, but it will soon move to the second stage in terms of different usage of boats. The second stage means that customers will increasingly change their use of boats from business purposes to self-entertainment activities, which will add to the demand for smaller yachts to enlarge the clients' portfolios.'

The Association’s view supports this, seeing the increasing number of wealthy people and rising domestic consumption levels being the catalyst for increased yacht demand. The Fortune Character Institute – a luxury industry research and consulting company – said in its China Yacht Report that the total revenue of the country's yacht market reached RMB1.75bn in 2012, with the luxury yacht sector accounting for RMB780m.

Figures from the institute also show that the compound annual growth rate of China's yacht market was 732% from 2006 to 2011, while the growth rate of other luxury items fluctuated. 'The soaring rise means that the consumption patterns of Chinese wealthy people have seen an upgrade, and both the luxury vehicle and yacht sectors will become their targets,' said Zhou Ting, director of the institute. 'But Chinese multi-millionaires, who are about 1.4 million in number and spend RMB1.56m every year on average, are still at an initial stage when it comes to their understanding of yachts.'