Ferretti Group president sees challenges in Chinese market

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Only one of every 318 high-net-worth people own yachts in China, compared to one out of every 25 in Hong Kong, according to an Italian Trade Commission report.

Despite the lagging numbers, a survey by the Shanghai-based research firm Hurun found that more than half of mainland Chinese worth $1.5 million or more were interested in owning yachts.

Ferretti Group president Lamberto Tacoli told the Wall Street Journal that it’s not money keeping the Chinese from yachting. The Ferretti Group is owned by Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group.

“In China we need a lot of authorization, just like we are moving a military ship,” Tacoli told the paper. “It is an attack on privacy and freedom. Last year we wanted to take some potential customers in Hainan for a short trip and we had to get the names of passengers and their passports way in advance.”

In addition, China lacks services and expertise to support the yachting industry, with shortages of captains and chefs, for example. “[Yachts] have to park among the fishing boats, and they are far away from shopping areas or high-end hotels,” Tacoli told the paper.

He said the country is also hosting too many boating festivals and shows.

The “hot new area” for yachting is in Africa, Tacoli said. “We see strong demand from Angola, Nigeria and South Africa. We think in about 10 years, Africa will become the new China. Malaysia and Singapore in Asia are also going well. We are also hopeful about markets in Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Shenzhen. When dealing with China, you need to be patient, spend the time and wait for the results.”

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