This year’s Korea International Boat Show (KIBS) will increase its floor space by 8% and will feature new product launches by Korean companies, some entering the marine market for the first time. This year’s show, the 11th edition, will take place from May 24-27 at the Korea International Exhibition Centre in Seoul and at the ARA Marina in the Greater Seoul Metropolitan area nearby.

The Korean industry has been able to grow rapidly over the past 10 years due to the investment policy of the Korean government assisting companies with R&D capabilities. The domestic market has been developed by a plan to increase the number of marina facilities and the introduction of a technician training program to improve the service capability of the industry.

The strong economy in Korea has also created a growing middle class with an expanding disposable income generated by a GDP of over US$30, 000 per head, resulting in a strong interest in new leisure pursuits.

The expanding economy, together with a long coastline of 12,607km, has been the driver behind the government’s plans to develop 58 marinas by 2019 to accommodate the sharply increasing number of boat users and registered boats. The total number of boat driving licenses issued as of 2016 was 185,129 and the annual growth rate of the number of registered leisure boats over the last five years is averaging at 22.7% per year, the highest rate of growth in the number of leisure boats in the Asian region.

According to the show’s organisers, new product launches scheduled for KIBS this year include Hanwha Techwin, a subsidiary of a Korean global conglomerate Hanwha, which is now expanding into the leisure marine market with video products. The first 100% Korean-made electric surfboard will also be launched at KIBS by Stingray.

Global brands new to KIBS include Swedish sailboat builder Hallberg-Rassy, exhibiting its 412 sailboat, and the Galeon 365 HTS motorboat from Poland.