Italy’s boatbuilder Benetti is building up an Asia Pacific agency network. The move aims to strengthen its regional presence and provide an active support for its regional head office in Hong Kong. This initiative is being led by Nizar Tagi who took on the role of Benetti Asia’s general manager earlier this year.

The network is being set up with the appointment of representatives in Australia and Japan with South Korea and Singapore/Malaysia in prospect.

Commenting on the regional network strategy, Benetti says: “Partnering with excellent local agents is a successful formula for Benetti in Asia and the first half of 2016 saw a continuation in this approach.

“New appointments as agents in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Japan, were made with Geoff Lovett International (GLI) and Bingo Sports respectively. These agents have extensive experience, local expertise, and a track record working diligently for a diverse range of clients.”

With more than 50 years experience in the yacht business, GLI has built up a loyal clientele across Australia and beyond. As a new Benetti agent, GLI will work to enhance brand awareness, reinforce client service, and boost sales in Australia and New Zealand.

In Japan, Bingo Sports is an auto dealer selling high-end brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Pagani. With a deep understanding of Italian brands, local market knowledge and existing client base, Bingo Sports will support Benetti positioning within the Japanese market.

Commenting on prospects appointments, the Italian boatbuilder says: “Benetti has made promising progress over the past two months. Clients from China and Australia have shown huge interests in the brand and a number of potential buyers from both countries have visited Benetti’s shipyards in Italy to better understand the brand and its unique offering. “

Benetti’s next target is South Korea, the third largest economy in Asia. Benetti’s superyacht experts travelled to Seoul and were able to foster ever closer relationships with the Italian Embassy and met with a number of potential partners for collaboration.

“Benetti is discussing with several potential agents in South Korea. South Korean market is still immature, but Korea boasts a 12,000-plus km coastline, 3,237 islands, as well as a strong economy, which makes this market attractive. “There are currently more than 20 new, fully operational marinas but mainly for smaller yachts. Hopefully by the end of the 2016 the Wangsan marina will open in Seoul. I visited this marina in June and it has the capacity to berth at least 50 superyachts,” Tagi told IBI.

Tagi also reveal that talks are underway with a couple of qualified potential agents and that an appointment is likely to be announced by the end of this year.

In regards to other markets Tagi says: “We also have a couple of agents that will take care of both Malaysia and Singapore. The Singapore market is too limited to have an agent, so with Malaysia population of 30m and many new wealthy individuals this makes a nice potential in terms of sales. Also Malaysia are now in the process of building some of the most modern marinas in Asia.”

Commenting on the market in Thailand, Tagi says that it is becoming an atractive yachting destination. “Benetti just sold a Delfino 28.3m (93ft) to a Thai-based client, and lately we have seen that Thai clients are receptive to purchasing a yacht,” he concludes.