Taiwan develops superyacht offering
The country is making moves to establish itself as a leader in tourism and refit in Asia…
Horizon Refit Center
With increased interest in local yacht ownership, foreign superyacht visits, and the rise of the local superyacht charter market, there has been a shortage of yacht berthing spaces and related infrastructure in Taiwan. We explore the development of Taiwan as a superyacht region and get to know a number of new infrastructure developments which will eventually accommodate the growing demand for marina facilities and refit services.
In 2010 the Taiwanese government changed regulations allowing Taiwan residents to own leisure boats, this was accompanied by a change in policy relating to local cruising and government support for infrastructure to grow the leisure marine industry. In 2014 the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Kaohsiung City Government held the first Taiwan International Boat Show (TIBS), with support from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Taiwan Yacht Industry Association. It was the first event of its kind in Taiwan, attracting visitors from across Asia and the US, and returned in 2016 and 2018, with the fourth iteration of TIBS scheduled for later in 2022.
In 2018 superyacht builder Kha Shing opened Pier 22, a 25-berth marina with facilities for yachts up to 50m in Kaohsiung. The builder, which has been responsible for 21 per cent of Taiwanese built superyachts since 2010, is now developing Xing da Harbor – just south of Tainan City. The 120,000m2 facility will provide 98 berthing spaces for vessels up to 60m. It will also include a refit and repair centre which a company representative said will be the “biggest and best” in Asia when opened. The founder of the Xing Da Harbor is the current CEO of Kha Shing, Howard Gung. Speaking to SuperyachtNews a company representative said, “His passion is taking the Taiwan yacht industry to the next level, from manufacturing to full owner support services, has made him make the decision to take on this big project and to create a go-to destination for all superyachts.”
Xing Da Harbor
Another new build yard providing refit services is Horizon. Since 2010 the firm has produced 34 per cent of the Taiwanese built fleet and ranks fourth among builders by output outside of Europe. Keith Chen of Horizon told SuperyachtNews the Horizon Refit Center is, “seeking to expand its service business and is planning to have an 820T travel lift installed next year.” The centre is located in Kaohsiung and has a wet berth for vessels up to 70m. Horizon also opened the Horizon City Marina in Kaohsiung in 2014. In an interview with SuperyachtNews in 2014 a Horizon representative said, “With the establishment of a world-class private luxury yacht marina, Horizon Group looks forward to providing further after-sales service and support to our Taiwan and Asian owners; we also hope this marina will encourage more people to embrace and enjoy the new yachting lifestyle in Taiwan.”
The growth of yachting in the region has also led to new industry players entering the market. IOVTEC, founded in 2013, established the International Ocean Group (IOG) brand to provide services to the offshore wind industry but has recently begun expanding the division to serve the superyacht industry. As part of the growth into the industry IOG brought superyacht broker Evelyn Huang on board to manage the new refit business. Speaking to SuperyachtNews, Huang said the firm had seen increasing demand for berthing, refitting, and repairing services alongside an increasing demand for superyacht chartering in Taiwan. To serve this the company is currently building a marina and refit centre in Jiang Jun, one hour north of Tainan City on the western coast. Peter Yen, who joined IOG in 2019 to work as part of the yacht refit business and now serves as general manager of the shipyard business, said the centre will offer refit and maintenance services to yachts up to 45m and that the firm will focus on working with local companies and developing Taiwanese talent in the marine sector. The 18,000m2 facility is scheduled to be fully operational by 2024.
The growth of Taiwan as a superyacht refit and tourist destination has been steady, with increasing interest from both local buyers and visitors to the region. Infrastructure investments will only further boost the industry, and, in the long-term, could work to establish Taiwan as a leading superyacht destination in Asia.
Kha Shing Enterprises Co. Ltd - Hargrave
Taiwan Yacht Industry Association (TYIA)
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