Cover Story

Toys for big boys

Updated: 2011-04-15 11:16

By Andrew Moody (China Daily European Weekly)

Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

Europeans line up in major luxury show targeting china's wealthy

Yacht salesman Russell Crump says China's new rich do not look like the

Toys for big boys 

multi-millionaires he normally comes across in Monte Carlo. Crump, a yacht broker for Edminston & Co, which specializes in the sale, charter and management of super yachts and who is normally based in Monaco, was finding the people with the money difficult to spot under the Sanya sun.

The British expat was one of nearly 200 exhibitors at the show for China's richest, Hainan Rendez-Vous, staged in Sanya on Hainan island, the nearest thing the country has to its own French Riviera.

The world's leading yacht makers, business jet manufacturers, real estate agents of luxury property, fine wine merchants, Bentley and Ferrari dealerships and one hotel group marketing a one-night stay in its top suites at 38,000 euros a night, descended on the resort for four days earlier this month.

All were targeting China's wealthy with the number of dollar billionaires in the country nearly doubling to 115 on the latest Forbes list.

"In Europe, I can usually tell how much money people have by doing a mental check of their watch, haircut and shoes but I just can't work it out here yet," he says.

"I had one bloke yesterday who has three business jets but he was wearing a T shirt and a Seiko, the sort of watch you would give your son for Christmas."

Spotting people rich enough to lay out tens of millions of euros on a super yacht or $50 million (35 million euros) on a business jet among the 15,000 people who trod the walkways of the show - now in its second year - was proving a difficult exercise for many of the exhibitors.

The harbor front, where many Chinese have second homes, did, however, ooze wealth and the organizer of the show, Frenchwoman Delphine Lignieres (see page 8), insists the buyers were there in force with or without expensive watches.

Sales at the show itself topped 3 billion yuan (320 million euros) but the final figure could be 10 billion yuan, according to the organizers.

Azimut, the Italian yacht maker, sold its biggest yacht, the 120SL, at the show and received orders for four other yachts, making its total sales from the event 200 million yuan.

This sort of expenditure backs up a recent survey by Deutsche Bank, which pointed to China now accounting for 19 percent of all the world's luxury goods sales, behind Japan (24 percent), Europe (22 percent) and North America (20 percent) but catching up fast.

Joseph Zhao, general manager of Kingsway Marine, based in Shenzhen and which will shortly open another office in Sanya, was one who was hopeful of making a sale.

His company's sister operation Kingsland, a Lamborghini dealership, sold a car for 7 million yuan at last year's show.

This year a Meridian 441 cruiser was in the harbor with a price tag of 7.8 million yuan.

"This show has become the No 1 luxury lifestyle show in China. We have had some good leads for potential customers. It is difficult to tell whether they will buy since they tend to come right at the end to bargain."

Zhao says many people who buy boats in China don't actual sail them.

   Previous Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page  


Green light

F1 sponsors expect lucrative returns from Shanghai pit stop

Preview of the coming issue
Toy for rich boys
Reaching out

European Edition


Share your China stories!

Foreign readers are invited to share your China stories.

No more Mr. Bad Guy

Italian actor plans to smash ‘foreign devil’ myth and become the first white kungfu star made in China.

Art auctions

China accounted for 33% of global fine art sales.

Beloved polar bear died
Panic buying of salt
'Super moon'