Along with the press from all corners of the world, including UK, USA, South America, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Australia and others, as a Pacific PowerBoat and Pacific PassageMaker representative was welcomed to be part of the realization of the first display of Taiwan’s six-decade old boat building industry. Over the four days, 168 shipyards and suppliers displayed their products at the new Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, the finest in luxury yachts, boating components and equipment local and international suppliers had to offer.
The show that included more than 60 vessels was organised by the Bureau of Foreign Trade and Kaohsiung City Government, implemented by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and held under the auspices of Taiwan Yacht Industry Association (TYIA). A reported 70,000 visitors visited the show that featured foreign and domestic exhibitors; these included a respectable number of Kiwi and Australian manufacturers. The show extended from the new conventions centre to an outside pier which showcased a further 20 luxury powerboats on the water.
The largest powerboat exhibited within the hall, was the Horizon Yachts RP110 – yes indoors! Horizon, being one of the big names in Taiwan Boat Building, is also the fifth-largest custom luxury yacht builder in the world. The RP110 featured nearly 450 sq metres of leisure space and was labeled at the show as a “virtual villa on the sea”.
Horizon also displayed their E56 and E88 within the convention centre – an impressive site for our seasoned journalists – so I cannot even imagine what the local Taiwanese show attendees thought of the sight. Outside on the marina, Horizon displayed several models including the all new Horizon PC52, which will be featured in our next issue of Pacific PowerBoat.
Meanwhile, Kha Shing Enterprises (who also produce the Australian owned Belize range) presented their latest Monte Fino CAT 45 Sports. Another new release to be showcased was the Green 45 Hybrid, the first hybrid electric yacht in Taiwan designed by Bluewater Yacht Builders, which drew much attention, in fact, as with most of the boats there was a queue of 50 people-plus, waiting for sometimes up to an hour, for their opportunity to look aboard the different models, something very different from the normal shows I have attended around the world. I believe for most Taiwanese visitors, this was a first time opportunity for most to view such grandiose craft – or even an entry-level boat for some!!!
Other exhibitors include Asia Harbor, Nova Marine, Grand Harbour, President and Johnson Yachts – in fact the actual Johnson 75 Enclosed Flybridge on display, once fully completed, will be on its way for delivery to its NZ owner – another to be reviewed before the end of 2014 in Pacific PowerBoat magazine. Taiwan’s boat building industry has won global acclaim in recent years, and the Taiwan exhibitors eagerly anticipated this first genuine exhibition of yachts in their own country, hopefully heightening the profile for the island’s rapidly expanding yacht-building sector.
Foreign flags were also raised on the mast at this maiden Taiwan marine show, in addition to the NZ and Australian exhibitors. It attracted overseas yacht-builders and peripheral industries, including the German-based Hanse Yachts, Sweden-based Delta Powerboats and the 36 suppliers from, the US, the UK, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Indonesia. AIMEX CEO, MaryAnne Edwards, who attended the show and organized the Australia pavilion said, “We came to the show not expecting a lot as it is always a suck it and see approach with new shows. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the professional organization of the event, the superb facilities at the new exhibition centre and the significant number of true industry exhibitors making this a show with huge potential. Visitors came out in droves to visit the show and whilst many were locals wanting to see the new exhibition centre and the amazing line up of locally built boats, a reasonable number of visitors were looking to buy. It was amazing to see the queue of locals waiting to get a tour of the Horizon boats and I commend John Lu, MD Horizon for this initiative, plus we thank the Kaohsiung government for encouraging us to exhibit.” Many of the International exhibitors who attended the show reported great interest – with many securing local distributors for their products in Taiwan.
Since the show venue was near the heart of Taiwan’s cluster of yacht and marine related manufacturers, buyers could personally checkout nearby shipyards that can be reached in a 30 minute drive. We were told by Roger Goldsmith, Marketing Manager for Tayana Yachts – that there are 32 boat building yards within a 10 kilometer radius of the show. In addition to overseas visitors, the Boat Show also attracted visitor registration of executives from over 500 well-known companies in Taiwan. Through outlets, over 10,000 tickets were pre-sold before the show even opened. It was estimated the number of visitors at the four-day show would reach 30,000, in fact, it exceeded 70,000!
It was not just boats to view and dribble over, the organisers appreciate that the Taiwanese people are not regular nautical participants and during the show attendees had the opportunities to join 13 feature events that build fun, awareness and knowledge on Taiwan’s yacht-building industry and its ocean environment. There was a marine classroom, a marine generation seminar, and a discussion forum on the yacht industry that echo Taiwan’s rich marine heritage, encouraging the Taiwanese to take to the sea.
The organisers’ reported more than 70,000 people visited the four-day show. They included more than 2,000 overseas buyers and thousands of domestic buyers. More than NT$1bn (NZ $38.5 million) was generated during show days with the sale of 32 boats and related equipment. It is projected that follow up orders for 30 more yachts will be placed to boost total show-generated business to NT$5.2 billion (NZ$200 million).
Taiwanese yacht manufacturers Horizon Yachts, Kha Shing Enterprises, Global Yacht Builders, Bluewater Yacht Builders, Corum Yachts Taiwan, Hsing Hang Marine, Tayana Yachts and Johnson Yachts all received orders as a result of their participation in the show. In my opinion, TAITRA and the Taiwan Yacht Industry Association, for the first time up have done an incredible job presenting a professional and well-organised show, boasting an impressive number of international and local, industry and visitors to the show. The quality of the show reflects the level of professionalism the Taiwanese boat building industry has risen to. Right from the smaller aluminium 4.6m Morningstar, through to the super impressive, 170 ft Jade 959 motor yacht built by Jade Ship Building (who currently have 22 vessels under construction), the industry seems to be coming into its own. As we see in the boats arriving on our shores – the industry seems to have the boat building and build quality sorted, and they are now, jointly working on the marketing operations, and seem to be doing an exceptionally good job. I look forward to the next bi-annual show in 2016, to see how things have progressed.