Accord for lux­ury cruise lin­ers to be built lo­cally

Ris­ing mid­dle class is a huge po­ten­tial mar­ket for leisure ac­tiv­ity of­fer­ing ex­po­nen­tial growth

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN in Tian­jin zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

With the rapid growth of the Chi­nese mar­ket for cruises, the first large lux­ury cruise ship to be built in China is en­ter­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion stage and it is ex­pected to be de­liv­ered in 2022.

China State Ship­build­ing Corp, China In­vest­ment Cap­i­tal Corp, Car­ni­val Corp & PLC, Fin­cantieri S P A (Fin­cantieri), CSSC Cruise Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Co Ltd and Shang­hai Waigao­qiao Ship­build­ing Co Ltd, jointly signed a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment on Fri­day in Tian­jin.

They will place an or­der for two large cruise ships, with the first one to be de­liv­ered in 2022. An op­tion to or­der two ad­di­tional cruise ships has also been granted. All four ships will be built by SWS, a sub­sidiary un­der CSSC.

“The agree­ment is an im­por­tant mile­stone in the de­vel­op­ment his­tory of the Chi­nese high-end equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try and ship­build­ing in­dus­try,” said Zheng Wei­hang, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and sec­re­tary-gen­eral of China Cruise and Yacht In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion.

“China has been a strong power in com­mer­cial ship build­ing for many years, but it lagged be­hind in lux­ury cruise build­ing. We will co­op­er­ate with for­eign com­pa­nies to learn and in­tro­duce ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nolo­gies,” he said.

The de­sign of the first China-built cruise ship will be based on Florida-based Car­ni­val’s Vista-class plat­form. The de­sign will be tai­lored to the Chi­nese cruise mar­ket and the spe­cific tastes of Chi­nese trav­el­ers, CSSC said.

The gross ton­nage of the newcruise ship will be around 133,500 tons, and the length will be about 323 me­ters. The ship has 15 decks and more than 2,000 cab­ins, with a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of around 5,000 pas­sen­gers. The style of the ship will in­te­grate in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and an ex­otic and re­laxed touch.

Wu Qiang, gen­eral man­ager of CSSC, said: “Cur­rently, Chi­nese take about 1 mil­lion in­di­vid­ual lux­ury cruise trips ev­ery year. Ten years from now, the num­ber is ex­pected to grow to 8 to 10 mil­lion. There is a sig­nif­i­cant growth po­ten­tial of the cruise mar­ket in China.”

“With a huge emerg­ing mid­dle-class and their ris­ing in­come in the next few years, about 200 to 300 mil­lion Chi­nese will have the spend­ing abil­ity to take cruise trips — a num­ber ex­ceed­ing that of the United States. Chi­nese are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about healthy and di­verse means of en­ter­tain­ment and travel. Ocean travel will be a crit­i­cal el­e­ment of that trend.”

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