By Mike Derrett

The 4th edition of the annual Yacht CN-Nansha International Boat Show closed on Sunday after a four-day run. With 30 exhibitors and 40 boats and yachts on display, the show was smaller in size than the 2014 edition. This reflects the downturn in the leisure boating market, mainly caused by a two-year government crackdown on corruption and tax evasion issues that has restricted the sale of larger leisure boats – although there are some growing areas, mainly with smaller boats.

A realistic view of the current market situation was given by Albert Khong, general manager of Nansha Marina, during the show. “Since last year, the Chinese boating market has been in recession with fewer larger yachts being sold and most boat shows experiencing a contraction,” he said. “However, the good news is there is an increase in the smaller recreational boating market (20ft-40ft-plus), which I believe is the right way to go. These are real users of leisure boats.”

Going on to describe a future vision for the industry, Khong continued: “For the boating market in China to be sustainable, it has to develop a broader base of recreational boaters, generating a wider range of activities – be it fishing, sailing, racing or introducing youngsters to boating.

“Nansha Marina is also changing its strategy to allow for the market changes with actions such as developing boating awareness for the general public and creating a leisure boating culture to encourage involvement at an early stage. We also have activities such as boat handling training, boat trips to island destinations, sailing and nautical training as our main focus for market development in the immediate future.”

Nansha Marina is located in Guangdong Province on the Pearl River Estuary, and is easily accessible from both Hong Kong and Guangzhou, being about a one-hour ferry journey from both. The area has been described by The Economist magazine as the ‘Workshop of the World’. It is also a boat manufacturing hub, and now with the opening of marinas, a boating hub.

Nansha Marina is China’s first Five Gold Anchor Marina – a designation it was given in 2012 by the UK-based Yacht Harbour Association (THYA). The award was renewed by the Australian Marina Industry Association at Yacht CN 2015, where another three-year certificate was presented during the show’s opening ceremony