This encouraging hypothetical profile however, was dulled by a pessimistic outlook for the future of yacht ownership. Clyde & Co.’s John Leonida said that the superyacht industry had suffered the loss of a “generation of superyacht owners in 2008”, when the financial crash decimated vast swathes of personal wealth. And since then, added Salamanca Group’s Martin Bellamy, UHNWIs are more inclined to invest their liquid wealth. "If you are a fairly wealthy person,” he said, “buying a yacht is the last thing on your list".
But a separate study conducted by Wealth-X, in collaboration with UBS, has identified a prime source for the next generation of superyacht owners. According to the report, China is home to the youngest pool of billionaires, with an average of 53 years old, ten years younger than the industry’s current target demographic. Furthermore, the average Chinese billionaire has wealth that far exceeds Rambus’ owner profile - $2.4 billion with liquidity of 10 per cent.
Upon opening its dedicated Chinese office in Yalong Bay, Perini Navi Group’s CEO, Giancarlo Ragnetti said “We are ready to intrigue and excite a new Chinese clientele, who are increasingly showing themselves to be tuned into the latest yachts coming out and innovations in yachting.”
But for Andy Treadwell, whose company Singapore Yacht Events organises the increasingly prominent Singapore Yacht Show, China is not the most attractive Asian superyacht market. “People who think ‘China’ for Asia are making a big mistake”, he explained. “For the next 10 years there will be more opportunities in the rest of Asia put together than in China alone. The smart players will have smaller, but nonetheless important, representation in Asia; Singapore is the primary hub and logical regional platform in which to have a base.”
Either way, it is up to the superyacht industry to replenish its pool of owners.