BY APB STAFF on 17 Feb 2022

Italy leads as yacht exporting nation to Hong Kong in 2021

Ferretti Yachts 780In 2021, Hong Kong imported more motorboats (listed as motorboats and motor yachts, for pleasure or sports other than outboard motorboats) and sailboats by value than for any year over the past ten years of recorded data. The Hong Kong Statistics department recently released complete import data for 2021, offering a ten-year picture of boat and yacht imports into Hong Kong, Asia’s biggest yacht market.

Values represent imports of “Motor boats and motor yachts, for pleasure or sports (other than outboard motor boats)”. Source: Census and Statistics Dept., Hong Kong

The new data shows that in 2021, Hong Kong imports of motorboats for pleasure use (not including outboard boats) rose over 45% year on year, from nearly HK$2 billion in 2020 to HK$2.9 billion. The import value of sailboats rose 56% from 2020 to 2021, from HK$147 million to HK$230 million. The value of imports in both categories far outstripped any previous year over the past decade.

Values represent imports of “Motor boats and motor yachts, for pleasure or sports (other than outboard motor boats)”. Source: Census and Statistics Dept., Hong Kong

Italy was by far the biggest exporter of yachts to Hong Kong by value, accounting for HK$1.8 billion worth of motorboat deliveries into Hong Kong in 2021. Imports from the UK, USA and France were a combined HK$942 million, though the US accounted for the greatest number of units.

Read: Hong Kong is a boating mecca on hold

Luke Webster, regional manager for Asia for Peters and May, a yachting shipping firm, described the rise as “consistent with what we are seeing day to day, not only to Hong Kong but across most of Asia.”

Source: Census and Statistics Dept., Hong Kong

Webster added that two factors drove the sudden rise in 2021 import shipments: the backlog in deliveries and shipments caused by initial lockdowns in 2020, and the uncertainty of travel due to Covid restrictions, which boosted sales for domestic use.

Values represent imports of “Sailboats with or without auxiliary motors”. Source: Census and Statistics Dept., Hong Kong

“It is hard to say where the final yacht owner may be located but I would assume that a high percentage of yachts shipped to Hong Kong will stay there as it is much easier, especially considering the issues caused by Covid, to ship directly to China or another part of Asia rather than sail/motor there from Hong Kong,” Webster said.

I am also very positive that this increase in yacht shipments will continue rise in 2022 and beyond
– Luke Webster

“I am also very positive that this increase in yacht shipments will continue to rise in 2022 and beyond,” Webster added. Webster said that Peters & May would soon complete its first heavy-lift voyage of the year from Europe to Asia, with another shipment due to leave Southampton in late March.

Read: The ups and downs of Covid on the Asian yacht industry

Hong Kong’s yacht dealerships have reported significant sales to local buyers, thanks to lockdown restrictions that have encouraged more people to head out on the water. Mainland Chinese clients are also having a major effect on the market. In an interview with Asia-Pacific Boating, Simpson Marine’s Reanna Wang said that Mainland Chinese people accounted for at least 60% of yacht management clients in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has become Asia’s leading importer of motorboats and yachts in the past ten years. In 2019, Japan imported US$97.6 million worth of leisure motorboats, while Hong Kong imported almost US$186 million, according to the World Bank data. In 2018, Singapore imported US$1 million worth of motorboats, while Thailand imported US$10.2 million, compared to Hong Kong imports of US$113.5 million in that year.