RE­PORTER’S LOG XIE YU Sales­men an­gle for big fish at Sanya event

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS -

En­dowed with glam­orous trop­i­cal scenery and un­spoiled beaches, the south­ern Chi­nese city of Sanya is an ideal place for a party. In fact, the city has been try­ing for years to turn it­self into a party des­ti­na­tion for the rich.

Bill­boards an­nounc­ing the China Ren­dezvous could be seen on al­most all the ma­jor roads in Sanya last weekend. Held for the past five years, China Ren­dezvous, tai­lored to Chi­nese bil­lion­aires, is said to be the most lux­u­ri­ous, most­mys­te­ri­ous and cra­zi­est party ever. Of course, along with these “VVIPs”, the event also at­tracts sales­peo­ple from yacht com­pa­nies pro­mot­ing their prod­ucts.

I was a bit lost when I ar­rived in down­town Sanya. It no longer was the peace­ful small city I re­mem­bered with the spread-out seafood and bar­be­cue stalls.

Gi­gan­tic apart­ment build­ings had sprung up along the road­ways, and more were un­der con­struc­tion. Trucks car­ry­ing con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als whizzed by. People told me that nu­mer­ous prop­er­ties had been built over the past fewyears, with hous­ing prices surg­ing from 4,000 yuan ($644) per square me­ter to more than 20,000 yuan.

I gazed at a bill­board. In the pic­ture, four white people— two women and two men— dressed in shim­mer­ing evening gowns and for­mal suits were toast­ing each other with Cham­pagne. No Chi­nese per­son was shown in the pic­ture. I be­gan to won­der: Is this what rich people like— a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion with dense flat build­ings and com­plete­lyWestern-style leisure?

The par­ties started when night fell. For­eign DJs oc­cu­pied the stage. The deck was jammed with people, mostly young, tanned women in low-cut dresses. Wait­ers served end­less glasses of Cham­pagne and other al­co­hol.

There also were men in polo shirts. I talked with a man from Shang­hai who planned to sign a con­tract for a yacht at 25 mil­lion yuan. In his ca­sual La­coste polo shirt, I would not have rec­og­nized him as ex­tremely wealthy if the or­ga­nizer had not in­tro­duced him to me as such.

In fact, the or­ga­nizer knew­ev­ery big fish in the pool. His goal is to please these po­ten­tial clients dur­ing the party and get the deal done.

“There is a cir­cle of rich people who are in­ter­ested in yachts. Once you break in and get their ap­proval, you get your op­por­tu­ni­ties. It is not so hard to pro­mote, be­cause rich people need to show off their for­tunes and be­come un­easy when they lag be­hind,” a sales­man said.

One thing I failed to wit­ness was any de­bauch­ery. Ru­mors of wild or­gies and pho­tos of scant­ily dressed mod­els taken at China Ren­dezvous 2013 clearly taught the or­ga­niz­ers a les­son.

The re­sult of this year’s cau­tion might in­deed prove that with­out go­ing too far, they still will get deals done.

“I have a small yacht in San Fran­cisco, but it’s not big enough to go out to sea. I plan to buy a big­ger one with friends this time and moor it in Sanya,” a busi­ness­man from Tai­wan told me. “Af­ter all, I of­ten travel to the main­land, and the sea here is beau­ti­ful,” he added.

Look­ing back at the city from a sail­ing yacht, I sincerely hoped that the yacht busi­ness will boom and be­come a sub­sti­tute for real es­tate to fuel the econ­omy, if growth is that im­por­tant. Af­ter all, sail­ing does not cre­ate as much pol­lu­tion. Con­tact the writer at xieyu@chi­

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