Building a local market
THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR THE DEVEOPMENT OF LEISURE BOATING IN TAIWAN
While Taiwan is globally renowned for its yacht-building excellence, the country also has a latent consumer market that is ripe for development. Such is the level of potential that many overseas companies visited TIBS 2016 with the express intention of forming partnerships with domestic rms. US-based marina operator Bellingham Marine, for instance, signed an agreement at the show with YuYue Yacht Co to grow recreational boating through the development of new marinas. Together the two companies have identi ed several projects to support expansion. “There is a shortage of boat slips in the country, which is having a dramatic impact on the cost of moorage; it’s pricing many out of the market,” says YuYue Yacht director Vincent Kuan. YuYue is an importer and distributor of several high-end brands such as Sunseeker, Galeon and Quicksilver. “A key element of building Taiwan’s recreational boating industry is the creation of quality-built new marinas,” Kuan adds.
Peter Cheng, marketing manager at Hung Shen Propeller, believes that the Taiwan government is on the right path when it comes to integrating resources for the local yacht industry. “Many large-scale construction plans and yacht-friendly policies are in the works,” he says. “The market is certainly heading in the right direction.”
Lawrence Lim at Supreme Yachts agrees. Lim founded the Bavaria yacht importer in 2015 to entice a new generation of would-be boaters with the popular German brand. Speaking at TIBS 2016, Lim said that boat registration in Taiwan has rocketed since yacht ownership restrictions were eased back in 2012. “The government has come a long way over the last four years,” he said. “Before 2012 there were no leisure boats, apart from very small boats of around 10ft-15ft because they weren’t allowed. But now you can buy any size of boat, there’s no limit.”
Lim said that around 400-500 boats – mostly from 20ft-25ft – were registered in Taiwan over the last two years. “In 2012 there were around 1,400 registered boats and now there’s more than 2,000, so it’s a new market with lots of potential,” he says.
Other proponents of Taiwan’s burgeoning recreational boating scene include Taipei motoryacht producer TC (Ta-Chou) Yachts Co Ltd, which recently opened a sailing academy at its marina on the Tamsui River to help locals experience the leisure marine lifestyle rst-hand. The new Taipei Yachting Academy is said to be the rst Royal Yachting Association (RYA)- recognised training centre in Taiwan and one of only a handful in all of Asia.
According to Horizon Group CEO John Lu, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the issue of national identity between Taiwan and China. It’s a problem for the industry going forward, he says, and one that is not easily solved. Taiwan is a nation surrounded by sea and in possession of excellent yacht-building technology, but tension across the Taiwan Strait and the long-term implementation of a Taiwan boycott means that leisure marine activities are not encouraged. “Very few Taiwanese people understand the marine lifestyle or what so many across the globe enjoy about yachting,” says Lu. “This is really quite incredible for an island nation that has such a rich heritage in marine culture.”
In the past two years, however, Lu says that Horizon has seen increased success in the local market, selling an EP150, RP120, RP110, two V80s, four E56s, a CC80 catamaran and a T52 sport shing boat.
“I consider this a remarkable achievement,” says Lu. “We understand that it might take more than a decade to fully develop a leisure marine culture, but Taiwan is de nitely on the right track to move forward.
With recent legislation that includes a yachting law; the removal of the yachting luxury tax; the organization of the Taiwan International Boat Show (TIBS); the establishment of a private yacht marina; and a yacht manufacturing zone that is currently being established, the future is looking bright.”