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Exploring the untapped potential of Asia’s yachting market

With the launch of the Asia-Pacific Superyacht Summit approaching and an increasing number of our fleet opting to cruise these waters, the region is ripe with opportunity. Heesen Yachts recognises the expanding population of billionaires and growing appetite for yachting here, positioning ourselves to cater to the preferences of this new clientele.

True to yachting’s global nature, demands and desires span continents and cultures. As the global economy continues its eastward shift, opportunities in these emerging markets gain momentum. Over the past decade, the number of billionaires in Asia has surged. According to the latest 2024 Hurun Global Report, Asia is home to just under half the world’s known billionaires, 1,533. The report also details China as the current world capital for billionaires, with 814, establishing the region as a prime target demographic for the superyacht industry.

While the European and North American markets have long dominated the yachting industry, the landscape is evolving as Asia continues to develop. With economies soaring and maturing, it is a potentially lucrative venture for yachting stakeholders. The emerging region has become a hotspot of activity, with countries like Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Thailand experiencing rapid economic growth and, with this, a corresponding expansion of wealth and a resulting shift toward embracing the yachting lifestyle, presenting huge opportunities.

The post-pandemic travel trends toward the off-the-beaten-path and more isolated regions have led to a notable uptick in yachts cruising Asian waters. Home to diverse and vast kilometres of coastline, the Asia-Pacific area boasts unparalleled cruising grounds such as Indonesia and the Philippines; these expansive archipelagos are today some of the world’s most sought-after destinations to explore. Facilitating these destinations is becoming much easier for the industry, thanks to enhanced investment in improving marina infrastructure and changing regulations, such as Thailand’s new foreign charter license.

At Heesen, we have noticed within our fleet that there have been increasing numbers of superyachts cruising Asia, highlighting this increased appetite and excitement in the region. The 47-metre Artisa – formerly Book Ends – was recently sold by Ocean Independence with the buyer, who was introduced by Burgess and has been spotted recently in Hong Kong.

Mark Woodmansey, Head of Brokerage at Burgess Asia comments: “Burgess were delighted to help the owner purchase Artisa. As the most recent Heesen yacht in the region we are pleased that this quality shipyard is represented in Asia with one of the most active boats in Hong Kong, where she can be found most weekends in the season being enjoyed by owner and guests.”

“Heesen’s high quality 499GT yachts offer an excellent choice for owners looking to upgrade from the production GRP boats typically found in the region, and with superb sea keeping and range these hulls provide, offering the ability to explore further afield in Asia’s diverse and exciting cruising grounds,” Woodmansey adds.

Meanwhile, the 39.4-metre Lady Azul, for charter in South East Asia with TWW Yachts, has been cruising Thailand. Azamanta, the world’s first displacement steel-hulled yacht over 50m, at 55 meters, is also cruising Thailand.

As the region continues to pique the sector’s curiosity, the upcoming Asia-Pacific Superyacht Summit will be a valuable platform to engage with prospective clients and showcase the destination. The two-day event, taking place in June at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel in Hong Kong, will be hosted by Superyacht Times; the summit will bring together industry leaders to discuss the future of yachting in Asia. Alongside this inaugural event, investment into the region has been evident in recent years, with increasing brokerage houses locating offices in Asia ready to service the clientele.

While the global superyacht market has slowed, coupled with the challenging macroeconomic situation in Eastern Europe and ongoing conflicts, new markets such as Asia present a refreshing opportunity and new focus for the industry. Still in its infancy, the Asian market has vast growth potential, with no one market being the same; considerations for differences in the clientele should be the focus. Tapping into cultural and societal changes as well as the reduced age of billionaires worldwide, with 93 aged forty or under (Hurun Global Report, 2024), is important. This new generation of owners also lean toward being more technologically savvy and environmental concerns as important.

Our commitment to innovation and sustainability positions us well to cater to the unique demands and preferences of the Asian market. The BlueNautech programme will help us further unlock further opportunities in this growing sector, with the new clientele focused on sustainability aspects during the build.

With these emerging economies and the rise of new clients, combined with upcoming industry events such as the Asia-Pacific Superyacht Summit, we continue to work on developing further opportunities in this rapidly evolving region.

Written by Gemma Harris

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