CIMC Group’s superyacht division, Pride Mega Yachts, turned heads recently with the sale of the in-build motor yacht Illusion. Upon its launching in 2015, Illusion will be the largest yacht ever built in China at 88.8 meters.
Although Pride Mega Yachts has previously collaborated on the builds of Nero and Asean Lady, Illusion is the first superyacht project built solely by the shipyard, and thus the first true showcase of its capabilities. European quality remains the aim of the shipyard, which finds itself competing with preconceptions about Chinese quality in this build. The sale of Illusion before its completion is proof that Pride Mega Yachts can compete in the international market, making use of top European suppliers, designs and a to ex-pat management team, according to company executives.
Itay Simhony, Pride Mega Yachts director, noted that his company wants to show that building quality yachts in China was not hypothetical and believes that the Chinese market base has huge potential. Simohony, who has been based in the country for a number of years, believes that many in the yachting industry are misjudging how to market to the Chinese because luxury boats are promoted as a product, not an experience. He added that organizing events like charters and showing potential owners how to enjoy themselves will get Chinese owners excited about having fun is the key to tapping the market.
Success in China requires an approach that encompasses deep cultural understanding. Simhony believes China should be approached as an independent market in its own right that does business much differently than in Europe. China retains an air of haggling over prices for goods, meaning instead of raising prices in anticipation of bargaining, yachting companies need to explain why their luxury boats cost so much so that potential owners will feel good about getting a fair deal.
China has an absence of yachting culture, meaning selling luxury boats is much different from selling luxury cars, a commodity to which the Chinese are constantly exposed. Boat shows like the recent So!Dalian, in which Pride Mega Yachts participated, are key to educating the Chinese market. Pride Mega Yachts is scheduled to exhibit at the 2014 Monaco Yacht Show where they will feature a model of Illusion and the 115m Estatement concept.