China (Shanghai) International Boat Show 2011

Eye candy as well as boats at the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show.
Alistair Skinner
While the CIBS Charity Regatta was happening down at Dianshan Lake, others - notably exhibitors - were still working away at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre in downtown Shanghai. All reports suggest a busy show.

There are many ways to record the number of visitors at a show of any type. One can use a simple manual ticker so that every time a person goes into the show a mechanical ticker is clicked. This is a very useful method for increasing or hyping visitor numbers as repeat visitors, exhibitors and other ancillary people help ‘boost’ numbers. At the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show a different method is used. Each time a ticket is redeemed at the show entrance or entry bought at the show entrance, only then does this register as a visitor. As a ticket included coupons for each day it does mean that only unique visitors count towards published numbers.

In addition, the visitor numbers are monitored and audited by an independent company to avoid the accusation of number massaging. The audited number of unique visitors to the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show was 21,000 from over 70 countries.

The show does appear to have reached capacity at its current site, with getting around from hall to hall requiring more weaving past others than at any show before, so it is fortuitous that from 2012 the show will be sited at the former World Expo site across the river in Pudong, where it will benefit from the massive infrastructure and transportation investment that Shanghai City Government made for the Expo. [The move was meant to happen this year, but... Ed]

In addition the new site is right beside the Huangpu River bringing with it boundless opportunities for on-water displays and demonstration.

So the 2011 China (Shanghai) International Boat Show is the end of an era perhaps, and next year the Show completes its journey from humble beginnings in an underground car park to one of the finest venues anywhere in the world.
Beneteau launched their new Sense 50 to China on the Saturday afternoon of the show, draping the yacht in a huge red cloth only to remove it symbolically at 1600 hrs on the Friday of the show. Symbolically for the Shanghai Show, the world’s largest sailing yacht builder choosing to launch their new model here rather than any other Chinese show sends a very clear message to the industry.

Like any Boat Show there were the bemused, the confused, and the families on a day out. But the number of deep conversations on various stands, with pen paper and brochures spread around were much in evidence. 'It was definitely worth coming, we have two very solid leads that I don’t think I would have got otherwise' said one sailing yacht dealer. 'It is our first proper visit', said another, and went on to say, 'but we had to be here'. Despite actively searching for negative comments, none were forthcoming about the levels of interest. David Winter of Red Dragon described the show in one word - 'Terrific'. They sold two of their 5.9s and had huge foreign interest in their new Sunday 23.

So what about the hard figures for the show?

There were 400 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, with over 300 real boats and a further 100+ model boats. Turnover was up threefold to an incredible RMB 1bn - that is, almost USD150m. On the first day Ferretti sold a 62’ at RMB29m; Cruisers sold their 36’ on display at RMB3m; Brunswick received two declarations of intent for RMB3m each.
Azimut sold one 68-footer and 105’ yacht for a total of RMB103m, plus four letters of intent being signed.
Jeanneau sold a 60-footer at RMB15.5m, and Beneteau sold both their exhibits, with Princess adding a RMB7m yacht.
Fairline signed two letters of intent for a total of RMB51m, and Sunseeker took three orders totaling RMB100m and they didn’t even have a boat on the site.

Sea Stella took orders for a 38’, a 46’ and a 63’ Flybridge totaling RMB16.1m and Choisi took four letters of intent for RMB30m in total. Sunbird sold 8 boats for a total of RMB40m, while Ramscraft (visiting Shanghai for the first time) sold six boats from RMB700,000 to RMB1m plus a staggering 18 letters of intent. Ocean Alexander signed an amazing 12 letters of intent on an RMB8m yacht and Double Happiness sold one RMB24m boat and four at RMB5m.

As previously reported, the evening before the show started this looked to be Shanghai’s biggest, best and busiest Boat Show ever. The above figures prove that this was no statement of hype. It does appear that people in China who want to buy a boat come to the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show. In addition to the show proper, the other activities were equally well received and attended.

The Charity regatta raised several tousands of RMB for ‘Hands on Shanghai’, a charity benefitting the children of migrant workers. This was a combined effort by CIBS, Team Four Dragons, Shanghai Boat & Yacht Club, Shanghai Yacht Club and Shanghai Model Boat Sailing Club, and in addition to assisting with Hands on Shanghai’s fundraising also gave their beneficiaries an experience they otherwise would have not had access to.

The two ‘Try a Sailboat’ Open Days at Dianshan Lake and at Real Sailing’s Site at JianShanWei had approaching 200 people getting out on the water for the first time - who knows, perhaps future customers at a Shanghai Boat Show?
At the show itself tens of people, mainly kids, had fun at the radio-controlled sailing in the temporary pool provided just for the show.

Finally the Friday evening of the show saw the Gala Dinner for the Asian Marine and Boating Awards sponsored by Agile Real Estate. 16 Awards were made in 14 categories, the culmination of almost four months of work by the team of judges, where every winner won for one simple reason – they received more votes than any other nominee.

So the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show is over for another year. Next year, 2012 sees a new venue with records from this year that will be hard to break, but with an on the water site adjacent to the venue don’t bet against it.