The Asian market is a demographic of the superyacht industry that is assuredly gathering momentum, with numerous brokerage firms dialling into, and acting upon, its auspicious potential.
In October 2016, Camper & Nicholsons International (C&N), the traditionally British but international luxury yachting company with a staggering 235-year heritage, announced that Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Development Company Limited is a new shareholder after signing an agreement to invest in the group. The objective of the investment is to reinforce the company’s capital position – but also to create a platform for which it can expand into the Asian market.
In a conversation with Paolo Casani, managing director of C&N – and the only member of its ancestry on the six-person board of directors – he tells SuperyachtNews that a strong local partner is of “paramount importance” for success in the region.
“It’s a very unique market with a very different luxury lifestyle,” he says. “It may have taken some time for us to understand their culture, perspectives and how they conduct themselves and that can be costly with a move like this. You need that local knowledge to progress quickly, especially in a high-end market like superyachts where you are dealing with a small population of clients. It’s an added bonus for us that our new partners are passionate about the industry [they are yacht owners themselves] and have a valuable link for Asian clients.”
According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2016, Asia’s nucleus of UHNWIs ($30 million+) is expected to grow by 66 per cent between 2015 – 2025, making it the second fastest growing region in the world for UHNWIs after Russia and CIS. This rate of growth will see it creep past Europe as the second largest UHNW population in the not too distant future, and whilst North America looks set to sustain pole position, it’s growth rate is under half the pace of Asia’s.
“Asian markets appear to grow and change very quickly,” he continues. “The cycle of growth in Asia is much quicker than in Western regions, such as Europe or the United States. The Asian market has come a long way in the last 5 to 10 years – perhaps not as far as we originally expected, but they’ve certainly come a long way, and the next generation will speed up this process. They will have a successful yachting culture.”
Casani, since his arrival in August 2015, has had a crucial involvement in orchestrating Camper & Nicholsons’ strategic growth amid a challenging period of transition. He says that operational consolidation is the agenda for the next two years and that his short-term business plan comprises no major strategic changes.
Lai Sun’s investment, local knowledge and links to Asian clients forms a promising synergy, while similarly incorporating the practices of luxury property and hotel specialists, more diverse and established luxury markets, into the C&N business model.
This article will be published in full in issue 176, the second edition of The ‘new’ Superyacht Report, published in March 2017. The magazine is available free for VIP subscribers. To apply please click here