29 Aug 2012
Ferretti outlines plans to tap into Chinese market
Predictions for 75 per cent Chinese-owned Ferretti Group to bring yachts closer to home and start building in China may come to fruition sooner than expected.
In March The Superyacht Report hypothesised that by the end of the decade ‘Ferretti will be building models in China – similar to the current arrangement with Ferretti Brazil’. Now, reports have come in via Bloomberg news that the company plans to open a production plant in Qingdao, Shangdong province.
Tan Xuguang, the recently appointed chairman of Ferretti Group and the pre-existing chair of its parent company Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group, told reporters following a press conference in China that the plant will customise vessels for the local market. The press conference was held by Weichai Group and Ferretti Group in Beijing on 28 August to outline the company's goals, following the strategic restructuring of Ferretti Group in January.
The first goal stated was that Weichai Group would 'leap forward' from being a local Chinese brand to international status; secondly, the Group has extended its ground engine manufacturing to encompass maritime engine manufacturing; and thirdly, the company would go beyond managing a local team to being involved in global operations.
“The new Ferretti Group will take advantage of China's market needs and its maritime travel resources to spearhead its business development in China,” said Xuguang.
Perhaps as significant as the proposed production plans is the company’s stated commitment to take an active role in promoting the nascent yachting culture in China. Xuguang said the company will “[popularise] aquatic leisure lifestyle, as well as planning and organising aquatic sports races.” Any boost from the Chinese in talking up the benefits from yachting will aid European brands' initiatives in doing the same.
L-R: Norberto Ferretti and Tan Xuguang celebrate the formalisation of the SHIG-Weichai acquisition in January
The location of the purported production plant, Qingdao, is also favourable, as it is 'the main driving force' of the development of the yacht market in China - as the British Marine Federation's recent China report termed it - was the location of sailing events at the 2008 Olympics and home to the high-end Qingdao International Yacht Club. It is the ideal launch pad to encourage the Chinese market to buy into the luxury yachting experience.
Xuguang is also ambitious to consolidate the company's strengths in technology, emphasising that, by leveraging its advantages in technologies, resources and capital, and learning from global leading yacht manufacturing technologies, the company would develop yacht engine systems, and further integrate yacht industrial chains covering upper stream, middle stream and downstream. "The company strives to develop into a large-sized comprehensive yacht industry group, which covers luxury yacht design and yacht engine system solutions," he said.
Weichai Group's acquired a 75 per cent stake in Italian-based Ferretti Group, in January. SHIG-Weichai, a construction, power and commercial vehicle construction conglomerate based in China’s eastern Shandong Province, agreed to pay €374 million for Ferretti, including an equity investment of €178 million and the provision of debt financing.
Report on Bloomberg news
Ferretti Group Profile | Ferretti Group Website
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