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Plain sailing for yacht club
Latest Updated by 2003-01-16 16:48:44

Sailing has become an increasingly breezy way for the affluent to relax here and more private yachts can be seen in the marina berths of  Shenzhen, a coastal city bordering Hong Kong.

More than 300 members have joined the city's only yacht club Longcheer since it began operation in June 2000. A majority of them are overseas investors in Shenzhen, while about 100 are mainland successful business people, said Jimmy Young, a spokesman for the club.

"We expect the number could reach 1,200 by 2004 when the second phase of our project is completed." Young told China Daily.

The club, located at Judiaosha beach in east Shenzhen opposite to Daya Bay, covers an area of 160,000 square metres including the land and the sea surface.

It had received permission from the authorities to sail on an area of 945 square kilometers that enables the members to travel to other coastal cities in Guangdong.

"We believe more Hong Kong people will come to Shenzhen to enjoy sailing at weekends and holidays when the market here gradually becomes mature," said Young.

The club's market survey showed that at least 26,000 people in this city, with a population of 7 million, could afford the activity.

The club charges 390,000 yuan (US$46,988) for a 40-year membership. "Compared with the much more expensive membership fee charged by Hong Kong yacht club -said to be at least HK$780,000 (US$100,000) - ours is very attractive," said Young.

But the membership cost may rise depending on market demand, he added. It was set at 240,000 yuan (US$28,916) at the beginning of the operation.

The club has invested some 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in the project to build the infrastructure, such as berths and dykes. Currently it provides berths for 274 boats and dry dock storage for 400 boats. It will invest an additional 317 million yuan (US$38.2 million) to improve the facilities.

"We have no further plan to increase our investment to upgrade the infrastructure now, but we will consider introducing foreign investors who would like to share the management experience with us and help the company grow healthily," said Young.

Analysts said the popularity of sailing will improve the investment environment of the city and boost the catering, transportation, and yacht maintenance services.

In Hong Kong, it's estimated that each yacht needs at least HK$15,000 (US$1,923) monthly for the berth, management, fuel and maintenance. The industry can generate some HK$4 billion yuan (US$512.8 million) output for the territory annually.

Analysts forecast more yacht clubs, around four to five, will be established in Shenzhen in the near future.

It was reported that a new yacht club in west Shenzhen plans to go into operation in October, which will provide about 160 berths.

Editor: Wings

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By:CHEN HONG Source:szdaily
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