The move is in line with China’s plan to develop its maritime economy

Kara Yeung, HKCYIA executive director

Kara Yeung, HKCYIA executive director

In a move which indicates China’s growing support for the leisure marine industry in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Cruise & Yacht Industry Association (HKCYIA) has reached a partnership agreement with China Merchants Industry Holdings Co Ltd for the establishment of Hong Kong’s first Superyacht Management Services Centre in Tsing Yi.

China Merchants Industry is a leading shipyards group in China that provides ship repair, conversion and offshore new-building for clients, including Yiu Lian Dockyards Ltd in Hong Kong, which was founded in 1964 and is now the largest shipyard in Hong Kong.

Speaking at the signing ceremony earlier this month, Kara Yeung, HKCYIA executive director, was quoted by Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Boating and other news sources as saying: “The establishment of a yacht services centre specifically designed for superyachts marks a major milestone in the development of the Hong Kong yacht industry. As yachts have become larger, the demand for services has risen. However, existing facilities in Hong Kong are mainly designed for the commercial shipping sector. With the superyacht service sector lagging behind, the opportunity for development is considerable.”

The move is in line with China’s plan to develop its maritime economy. According to the latest ‘Five-Year Plan for the National Economic and Social Development of China’, the maritime economy grew by an average 7.5% annually over the last five years, reaching 7.8 trillion yuan in 2017. Beijing expects the maritime industry to be worth 10 trillion yuan by 2020 and account for around 15% of China’s GDP by 2035.

As Hong Kong is expected to be a “super connector” in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative and of the strategy to build a 21st century maritime Silk Road, the enhancing of multilateral maritime co-operations and fostering of world-class marine industrial clusters in the Greater Bay Area will be of special significance for Hong Kong.

“The HKCYIA Superyacht Management Services Centre was set up in response to this national strategy, as it will provide a transit point for superyachts to obtain supplies and fuel when they travel to other destinations in Asia. Not only will more superyachts come to Hong Kong, helping promote tourism, but more foreign investors are also expected to arrive and develop the related businesses,” says Yeung.

Located at the Yiu Lian and Euroasia Dockyards, the centre will provide world-class support services for superyachts over 45m, including refit, repair and maintenance services. The centre will collaborate with international yacht brands and top yacht management companies in providing world-class supporting services, including repair and maintenance, audit and survey, bunkering services, crew administration and logistics support.

According to Yeung: “The HKCYIA will also join hands with the Maritime Services Training Institute (MSTI) and RINA Services SpA to develop a superyacht management course, providing hands-on training for young people interested in pursuing careers in the yacht industry. This programme will be the first of its kind, and the collaboration with RINA will provide training that meets international standards. Nurturing the next generation is important for the long-term development of the high-end maritime economy. The Superyacht Management Services Center will provide the perfect environment for youngsters to learn the necessary skills from industry practitioners.”

Since last year, the HKCYIA has been working closely with the relevant associations and organisations, with plans to develop the yacht industry in China. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the association and the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association (APSA), the Taiwan Yacht Industry Association (TYIA), Shenzhen Boating Industry Association (BIA), Zhuhai Ocean Association, Yacht Industry Development Association of Fujian, Hainan Cruise and Yacht Association, and the Sanya Yachting Association (SYA) to provide the foundation for future co-operation.

The HKCYIA will also participate in meetings with industry experts at the Singapore Yacht Show in April and the Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous in Viareggio, Italy in May to seek further co-operations. Yeung has been invited as a guest speaker at the Asia Pacific Superyacht Conference in Singapore this year to share her insights on the development of the yacht industry in Hong Kong.