Published: Thursday, 19 September 2013
Mike Fulton

On the side lines of the recent Cannes Boat Show, the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Guangdong Province and the Zhongshan Municipal People’s Government held a conference on the Yacht Industry and Modern Service Industry Promotion.

Zhongshan Woos Investment From The Yachting Sector

The Executive Mayor of Zhongshan, Xie Zhongfan, described the city’s powerful industrial background and explained that in recent years several high level yachting industry projects have started in the area with 17 in progress at present. Marinas and yacht clubs have started to spring up to support this growth. He also spelt out how Zhongshan is offering very favourable terms to outside investors that want to move into the area and promote their businesses. They are looking for investment in three main areas: modern services, advanced manufacturing, and new service industries.

Four main areas have been earmarked for future yacht building: Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Shenzhen. These areas are way ahead of most other areas in China regarding yacht services and marketing. Guangzhou alone has three large shipyards.

Zhongshan Woos Investment From The Yachting Sector 1

Reasons put forward for choosing Guangdong and more especially Zhongshan for investment include: it offering some of the greatest opportunities in China, the greater openness and transparency than other areas in China, the strong public financial infrastructure, the expanding middle class with its greater purchasing power, its proximity to Hong Kong and Macau with their developed service industries, the availability of highly-qualified management and technical specialists and a very skilled labour force.

With a population of some 3.1 million and five international airports and four harbours within a 90-kilometre radius, Zhongshan is ideally placed for investment in the developing yacht industry. The economic GDP has risen from $23 billion in 2004 to $39 billion in 2012 with per capita GDP at $10,000.

With a bonded logistics centre of 540,000 square metres, there are plans to build a bonded centre for yachts providing a wide range of services including storage, transit trading and logistics for import of yachts and associated accessories. 

Zhongshan Woos Investment From The Yachting Sector

The Sunsea Yacht Club near the Shenwan Port is the result of a $414 million investment by Singapore’s Keppel Corporation. It covers some 78,000 square metres with 250 private berths and a further 200 public berths. The club is equipped with resorts, exhibitions centres, yacht driving schools, yacht showrooms and a wharf control centres.

Other yachting developments include: the Donfeng Yacht Service Project with 400 berths covering some 16,000 square metres, which is expected to be completed in 2014 and the Shi Li Di An Marina in Dongsheng Town, which will eventually have 3,000 berths. The first 300 of these will be operational in October of 2013 and will provide a one-stop service for berthing and yacht maintenance. Eventually, this project will include a yacht research and development centre, an exhibition centre and a yacht driving training base.

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The $4-bllion Guangdong-Taiwan Yacht Trading Market is located at Huangpu Town and covers a total area of 1.5 million square metres. The Tsuihang New District Yacht Project, which is currently in development with signed agreements with both mainland Chinese and Taiwanese companies to cooperate in marina construction and yachting trading markets.

Zhongshan is the first city in what is termed the yacht “free line” between Guangzhou and Macau following the signing of a letter of intent between the two areas at the 2013 Guangdong-Macau Cooperation Joint Conference. It will promote cooperation and innovation within the yacht industries of the two cities and boost tourism. Eventually it will be possible to sail between the two cities more freely and with fewer restrictions.

Surrounded by water on three sides and as one of the greatest drainage areas in southern China, Zhongshan offers great navigation and also great berthing opportunities which being fresh water are more cost effective than berthing at sea. It also offers reduced risks from tsunamis, typhoons and other natural disasters. In recent years, along with enterprises like Kingship Marine, China State Shipbuilding Corporation and Guangxi Shipping and Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., Zhongshan has developed a diverse industrial infrastructure which focuses on marine engineering vessels, special ships and yachts and this sector shows great promise for excellent future growth.