Having formally launched their brand to market at the 2013 Monaco Yacht Show Pride Mega Yachts’ next big step will be the launch of Illusion. Despite having worked on several superyacht projects in the past, including Nero and Asean Lady, Illusion will be the first project built solely by the yard and thus the first real showcase of their capabilities. Competing with preconceptions about Chinese quality, European quality has always been the constant aim for the yard, which makes use of top European suppliers and designers and an ex-pat management team. The sale of Illusion before delivery was the owner endorsement of their work that they had been aiming for and they believe it is hard proof that they can compete in the international market, both in terms of quality and price.
“We want to show that building yachts of this quality in China is not hypothetical and that we are doing something incredible,” said Simhony. “This is just the start.” Having been based in China for many years Simhony has a strong understanding of the marketplace and its potential. Acknowledging that there is huge potential in the Chinese market, he believes that many are still misjudging how that potential clientbase is being marketed to.
“The marketing of yachts in China is all wrong,” he said. “Yachts are currently being marketed as a product and not as an experience. You need to find potential Chinese owners and coach them about yachting and what it offers. Organise a charter for them, show them what to do. Get them excited about yachting and help them to associate it with fun. Just sending an amazing brochure to them is not going to work; send them a wetsuit and take them out to experience the water first hand.”
To have success in China requires a deep cultural understanding and an approach that is sympathetic to this. “I think most in the industry are thinking short term and concentrating on the time when China will embrace yachting and conform to the normal way of doing yachting business/brokerage, but it’s not going to happen that way,” Simhony explained, stressing that China needs to be approached as an independent market in its own right. “China will never be Europe, China is China and they have their own way of doing things. That is one thing I have learnt over the years – you really have to understand the culture. For example, there is a bargain hunting approach here, where you always look to haggle and that’s how it works in China. Instead of inflating prices in anticipation of that, you need to coach them as to why a boat costs that much so they feel happy with the price that is being asked and understand that it is fair.”
Educating the clients in the benefits of yachting is crucial. “In China there is a lack of yachting culture, so selling yachts is very different from selling cars. The Chinese are continually exposed to mainstream luxury goods, so it is much easier to sell a high-end car than a yacht, as there is not so much coaching needed.” Boat shows are a key part of that education process, and Simhony was full of praise for the recent So! Dalian show, which Pride Mega Yachts attended. “The new So! Dalian show was small, but China must not be shy about doing events like this because they are all positive. At the So! Dalian show, people were happy and the quality was very high.”
The Pride Mega Yachts team will be exhibiting at the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show where they will showcase a model of Illusion and their 115m Estatement concept. Educating the market about the capabilities of the Chinese superyacht is, and will remain, a key goal for the team. “Industry investment into the Chinese market is key," concluded Simhony. "I honestly believe that China is coming.”
A full article on Pride Mega Yachts appeared in issue 145 of The Superyacht Report – subscribers can download the issue here.