Think of luxury yachts and Western brands from Europe and America may spring to mind. Even so, you would be surprised to know that Taiwan has a solid reputation as an importer of high-quality yachts used for recreational boating that rival that of their European counterparts.
In recent years, the Asian market has gradually emerged with Hong Kong and Singapore poised to serve as the yacht trading centres in the region due to the geography and concentration of high net worth individuals. The growing luxury yacht market presents an opportunity for Taiwan as its shipbuilding know-how and technology is second to none in the region.
By the numbers, Taiwan is considered the fifth largest producer of yachts in the world and the biggest in all of Asia, attracting international recognition. In 2018, Taiwan yacht manufacturers sold a total of 86 medium and large yachts with a total export value of MYR6.8 million (USD1.62 million), an 8% increase over the previous year.
That number is estimated to increase to MYR7.9 million (USD1.9 million) in 2019 with the export of 90 yachts. Much of Taiwan’s well established yacht industry is centred around in the port city of Kaohsiung, located on the southwestern tip of the island.
Home to more than half of the island’s boat builders, Kaohsiung boasts the largest harbour on the island and is the perfect location for its ambitious boat builders and has been known as a popular destination for massive superyachts.
The Peak was invited by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taitra) to learn more about Taiwan’s burgeoning yacht industry in the lead up to the fourth Taiwan International Boat Show (TIBS) that will take place from 12 – 15 March 2020 at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Centre.
The previous show in 2018 hosted more than 20,000 visitors with 19 yacht builders exhibiting during the show. Visitors were able to check out the latest luxury yachts and technologies both on-land in the exhibition hall as well as on the water where several boats were available for them to experience.
TIBS 2018 also attracted buyers from over 30 countries resulting in 13 yachts and boats sold during the show. We had the opportunity to visit some of Taiwan’s notable luxury yacht builders such as Nova Marine Co. Ltd, Kha Shing Enterprise Co. Ltd, Horizon Yacht and Dyna Yachts to get a closer look at the quality and craftsmanship behind Taiwan’s finest yachts.
As one of Taiwan’s top luxury yacht manufacturers, Nova Marine boasts over 30 years of experience and has marketed its yachts under its own brand name: Novatec Yachts. Most of their customers come from the United States, Europe, Australi, Dubai and Asia, a testament to their standards and quality of their yachts. To date, the company has delivered over 1,500 yachts to buyers worldwide.
Currently, Novatec’s production line includes four main yachts series, the Classic Sedan 46’ -56’, the Islander 48’-60’, the Euro 52’-84’ and the brand-new SuperNova 65’ – 73’.
Heading into 2020, Novatec will be present at TIBS 2020 and is excited to introduce its new Novatec S65 SuperNova and a face-lifted version of its Novatec E58 Euro.
The Peak also visited Kha Shing Enterprise’s shipyard facility where the company has built many of its stylish Monte Fino Yachts. The massive facility was a hive of activity as builders tirelessly erect massive yachts with some taking as long as a year to complete. Interestingly, Kha Shing began life as a small factory involved in the timber trade but ventured into the yacht building business in the late 1970s.
Kha Shing’s Monte Fino Collection span the gamut from its timeless F Class Flybridge Motor Yachts to its high-end MF Custom Yachts. The company is also expected to be present during TIBS 2020 to present its latest range of yachts to eager buyers.
A common theme discussed by the various yacht builders during the visit was the need to increase awareness of yachting to the local market and spur domestic demand for its boats. To this end, both Novatec and Kha Shing are venturing into the yacht chartering business to help promote its yachts to a wider audience while developing the yacht recreation industry.
Apart from chartering, there are efforts by Taiwan’s yacht builders to turn Kaohsiung into an international destination for yacht owners looking to visit Taiwan.
Both Horizon Yacht and Kha Shing have developed their own luxury yacht marinas behind the Kaohsiung Exhibition Centre. The marinas offer a full range of yachting services with floating docks to accommodate parked boats and are complemented by restaurants for guests who want to spend a quiet evening by the harbour.
With that said, come March 2020 TIBS is shaping up to be the biggest indoor boat show in Asia and is expected to attract 25,000 visitors with 1,000 exhibition booths spread across 4 exhibition areas.