China is the market with the highest potential for the yacht industry, Vincenzo Poerio, CEO of Benetti, one of the oldest builders of luxury motor yachts in the world and part of Italy’s Azimut Benetti Group, told Xinhua in a recent interview. The yacht market in the Chinese mainland is small at present, but Poerio, who is responsible for the group’s mega yachts, is convinced that “China is potentially the biggest market in the world and will bring a very positive future for our sector, although there is still much work to be done.”
Poerio said demand for yachts below 100 feet (30.5 meters) has gained traction in China in recent years. “It is still early for mega yachts, but this major pastime of affluent Europeans and Americans will become more and more popular among the rich,” he added.
The wealthy in China are beginning to love seafaring and the country is investing strongly in marines, the CEO explained to Xinhua. In the fast-developing economy, there may be space for adjustment of the sector’s taxes, which he said are currently very high to put the brakes on market expansion, as well as for simplification of sailing procedures. But what is most fundamental to enhance the sector, Poerio highlighted, is building a “yachting culture” which is still missing in China. “Chinese do not lack resources, but they often lack a true reason to buy yachts,” he underlined. According to the 2013 Hurun Wealth Report, the number of Chinese millionaires whose assets are more than 10 million RMB (1.6 million U.S. dollars) has reached 1.05 million, while the number of super rich, whose assets are over 100 million RMB, has hit 64,500.
Yachting is among the outdoor activities preferred by male millionaires, according to the report. Poerio noted that many yacht-users in China are the heads of big companies, often belonging to the construction sector. But in the end, what should luxury boats be used for? Around 70 percent of the Azimut Benetti Group’s clients in the world, Poerio estimated, can be defined as belonging to what he called the “business” or “show off” types.
“The first kind like to use their yacht like a traveling office or an instrument to do business, with conference rooms to stay connected to the rest of the world. Others see luxury boats as a show of wealth with business partners and friends,” he said.
“But another 30 percent are sea and nature-lovers. For them, buying a yacht means reaching fabulous places and living amid nature with their families,” Poerio said. “They are generally wealthy people who at a certain point of their life think about how to enjoy their money with their beloved ones,” he added.
“The sea-lover type is my favorite,” the CEO said, stressing luxury boats’ role of entertainment and relaxing in nature.
“We are used to living on Earth, but there is a wonderful life out at sea,” Poerio told Xinhua. “The sea-loving client loves technology, which influences the customized construction of his yacht,” he elaborated. For example, those who love exploring the ocean floor may want a submarine-carrying luxury boat, he noted.
Poerio said the international yacht manufacturing industry is at an advanced stage of development. The great part of this industry’s potential, he added, lies in all kinds of services and technologies, especially for the many users who will appreciate the pleasure of sea adventures.