China’s “Next” Superyacht Yard
Recent sales of two 41.5m vessels, to Australian and Chinese buyers, are giving credence to Heysea Yachts’ claim to be the “next big thing” in quality Chinese superyacht construction.
Words Bruce Maxwell PHOTOS As Credited
Cheoy Lee builds in composites and steel near Macau, but like Jade Yachts of Kaohsiung in Taiwan, is presently more focused on commercial craft. Yantai Raffles in North China is renamed Pride Yachts, but its Illusion 88m and other larger project vessels are taking time to evolve.
Heysea Yachts, on the other hand, is moving aggressively into the superyacht market, and is in the process of setting up a truly international sales networks. So far they have enlisted Doug Hoogs in Florida, Yachting Partners in Europe, and Tony Ross and Jason Chipp of Ensign Brokers in Australia. A dealer in Malta has been appointed.
Chairman Allen Leng points out that most Chinese yards are part-owned by Europeans, Americans or overseas Chinese, building as OEMs many of the brand name boats that are sold in these markets abroad.
Heysea Yachts by contrast is proudly Chinese, and Leng is passionate about the innovative design and very high quality of his vessels. This is the only Chinese mainland yard to be ranked in the world’s Top 30 Builders in Boat International’s most recent 2016 Global Order Book.
Founded a decade ago, the 66,700 sqm facility is situated in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, also near Macau. Heysea Yachts first had to ride out the 2008 GFC, but since then has delivered 100 vessels over 17m. The initial Heysea range included 60-70-78 and 82 feet models, and was augmented by the Asteria 95 and 108.
Over 15 Heysea 78s have been sold, more than 20 Heysea 82s, and the Asteria 108s are heading into double figures. In addition the Zoom 58 to 76 series was introduced, and is proving very popular.
A 42m cat was commission for the China Cup International Regatta held in Daya Bay just north of Hong Kong, and other 35-50m models are on the drawing boards, some reaching fruition with for example the two 41.5m sales.
Chairman Leng was at Singapore Yacht Show in April, and CEO Fang Yuan at the Sydney Yacht Show in August, signalling their determination to expand into regional and international sales. Well-known production foreman George Mei, previously with Kingship and Nisi Yachts, has taken over that role at Heysea.
An exclusive feature on the emergence of this yard appeared in Yacht Style #37, and a further update on the latest superyachts is scheduled for YS#41.