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How The Business Of Luxury Yachting Is Adapted For The Asian Market

Why premier boating brands choose to bet big on Asia's small market by debuting their superyachts at Singapore Yacht Show 2017.

Coming into its 7th year, the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS) shows no sign of slowing down despite dips in the current global economy.

“It's definitely not an easy market at the moment,” says Andy Treadwell, CEO and founder of Singapore Yacht Show. “If you ask most of our customers — the local dealers and distributors of the world’s biggest boating brands — they will tell you that things have been going far too slowly in the past few years.”

But Treadwell isn’t one to lose hope. Having wrapped up the second edition of the Thailand Yacht Show late last year, his team has incited the region’s commitment to boosting marine tourism and simplifying and streamlining regulations. “The interesting thing about the Asian market is that there is no shortage of opportunities. You just have to look harder, go a bit further, to find them,” he says.

Held at the One°15 Marina Club in Sentosa from 6 to 9 April, SYS 2017 will present leading names in the business who are eager to once again bet big on Asia's small but steadily rising market.

Held at the One°15 Marina Club in Sentosa from 6 to 9 April, the Singapore Yacht Show 2017 presents leading names in the business who are eager to once again bet big on Asia’s small but steadily rising market.

Fabio Ermetto, CCO of Azimut Benetti Group, says: “It is estimated that only 4 percent of superyachts are based in Asia. Two-thirds of the world population are living here, and probably two-thirds of the world's wealth are found here, so market penetration is still very low.”

While superyacht ownership is a relatively new area of interest for Asian billionaires and the mega wealthy, Ermetto sees an increasing number who are now pursuing an ocean lifestyle through the use of superyachts.

When asked about the disparities in preference among the world’s luxury yachting markets, Ermetto answers: “Unlike in the West, people in Asia care more about the interior of a superyacht, as opposed to outdoor amenities and activities.”

This could be because of Asia’s tropical climate, where it rains a lot. Treadwell affirms: “We therefore need to consider boats which have a lot of sheltered areas and air-conditioning as opposed to open decks.”

With its award-winning marinas and services, Singapore continues to be the key facilitator and consumer of the yachting sector in Southeast Asia. But this wasn't the case 10 years ago — Nick Stratton, Singapore country sales manager of Simpson Marine, says: "The other Asians markets are more mature and they have sold more yachts over a longer period of time than Singapore. However, Singapore has invested actively in yachting with new marinas being constructed as the growth potential is recognised in the industry. As a result, yacht sales in Singapore have been growing and we are seeing more interest from local buyers in both sailing and power boats."

It is also encouraging to see Singaporeans using bigger yachts to explore surrounding seas, especially around Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. British luxury yacht manufacturer Princess Yachts states: “Consumers in Dubai or parts of China tend to use the boats more for corporate and business matters, so it is nice to see that Singaporeans are able to combine that with leisure.”

Here, people are also more appreciative of good after-sales service and technical support, where teams usually consist of experienced ex-shipyard engineers and local team members – something Princess Yachts strive to bring throughout all their operations within Southeast Asia.

The superyacht market is still a worldwide market, and not of a single nation. Benetti is working with over 1,000 brokers worldwide and 200 brokers in Asia. In terms of transactions, there are low profile clients, who don't even want to admit to owning a yacht. Ermetto says: "I think the market will become more confidential with requests from clients who wish to remain anonymous and enjoy their yacht in private, especially in Asia. The owners prefer not to disclose the transactions publicly."

Treadwell agrees: “We may be less flamboyant here, and I think in general Asians are less likely to want to flaunt their wealth through flashy showboats than their counterparts in the West.

“Obviously there are exceptions, and it's anyway hard to really see the difference at the moment, because there is so little boating and yachting going on. Ask me the same question in 10 years’ time, when I believe the market will have changed radically here, and we may see differences between different nationalities – but in my experience, people of all backgrounds and cultural influences tend to draw together as they discover the joys of boating.”

For more information about SYS 2017, please click here.