Asia insights from the experts at Simpson Marine

Written by Elizabeth Kelly

As one of the oldest and most established brokerage firms in Asia, Simpson Marine has over 30 years of extensive experience in the superyacht industry.From sales of new builds and pre-owned superyachts to project management and luxury yacht charter, the company's full service approach to yachting has proven to be a successful business model in the growing Asian market.

Sanlorenzo SL78 in Hong Kong

Whilst in recent years focus has evolved away from the Malaysian market that dominated interest for much of the 90s, China and Hong Kong have rapidly grown into two of the busiest superyacht markets in the region, a development that the brand has embraced. With a well-established data base and loyal clientele, Simpson Marineis able to connect and cater to the Asian audience thanks to their experience, knowledge and geographical positioning.

Working in partnership with leading shipyards such as Sanlorenzo and Monte Carlo Yachts, in its history Simpson Marine has successfully sold over 50 yachts exceeding 30-metres to buyers based in Asia. As Asia continues to gain interest, we spoke to Simpson Marine to discuss the forecast of the superyacht industry in the Asian market.

Company Founder and Managing Director, Mike Simpson

Monte Carlo Yachts 96 sold by Simpson Marine to Thailand

The Asian market is something in which the wider industry is seemingly constantly discussing but, as yet, it would appear that no groundbreaking progress has been made. Do you really expect to see a substantial boom in the Asian market in the next two to five years?

The Asian market is very complex and itโ€™s not easy to make any straightforward estimations. The market presents huge potential and huge challenges at the same time and although it is steadily growing, the trajectory is not simply linear. We expect the market to keep on growing with some positive signals coming from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia on yacht sales activity. China is now slower for middle size boats but the enquiries are regular for larger vessels above 30-metres.

Cruising in Hong Kong - Sanlorenzo 46Steel at Victoria Harbour in Central

It would be more cautious to speak by country now than about Asia in general, as the differences in particular markets are disproportional to make an average assumption. We know that there are tendencies that come back, and possible slowdowns in a few markets, with new ones like Philippines and Vietnam, now booming. We could imagine that it would take not two to five years but an entire generation to have a solid base of potential and more mature customers for yachts and yachting culture. And we are here to address that, for many years to come.

You note that the superyacht hotspot of Asia has gone from Malaysia to China and Hong Kong. How is the infrastructure in China and Hong Kong for superyachts?

Hong Kong is currently the most mature port of call for superyachts in Asia and counts its largest number. The infrastructures are good but marinas are full and we are challenged by lack of berths. There is sadly no quick solution to that and we are trying to offer various alternatives to owners within our own resources.

Simpson Marine's stand at the Singapore Yacht Show 2017

What are the solutions to the lack of infrastructure for superyacht owners in Asia?

One of them can be to enrol to our Yacht Care programme and locate the yacht in Thailand in Phuket and Pattaya where we have offices and let our Yacht Care team take care of them while the owners are away, and get them fully ready for the ownersโ€™ holidays upon prior 24-hour notice. Another alternative is to keep the yacht in the Mediterranean but at the moment very few owners do it as they prefer to have quick access to yachts and enjoy them on weekends with family, friends and business partners. The Caribbean is too far from Asia to consider it as a viable option for now, for the large majority of them. China possesses some good marinas in the South but the 43.65% import tax for motor yachts is a serious concern for big yacht buyers for obvious reasons.

Simpson Marine at the Singapore Yacht Show

Tell us more about the superyacht division - how has that progressed over the years? How does it differ from the same kind of operation in Europe or the States?

Simpson Superyachts is a separate division of Simpson Marine Group in charge of new build and pre-owned sales, charter, management and servicing of yachts over 100 feet. Although Simpson Marine has been selling superyachts in Asia for over 30 years, this distinctive division was created in Hong Kong in September 2016 by Mike Simpson, who is personally overlooking its management and development. The superyacht market in Asia was particularly active in the 1990s when the local economies were booming and is now on the rise again. Just recently the company sold four Sanlorenzo superyachts ranging 80-150 ft, with more superyacht sales to be finalised in 2017. Simpson Superyachts also offers professional yacht management services in Hong Kong and superyacht charters in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.

The Singapore Yacht Show

Simpson Marine brokers will be present at both Cannes and Monaco Yacht Show next month. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Simpson Marine via email at [email protected] or via telephone at +852 2555 8377.

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