Luxury Yachts Find Asian Buyers as Ranks of Wealthy Swell
Singapore businessman Adrian Lee Chye Cheng, 33, is the super-yacht industry’s dream come true.
Young, wealthy and passionate about boats, he embodies an emerging market that shipyards and brokers see looming large on the horizon.
“The new market is in Asia,” Lee said in an interview on one of the panoramic decks of the Ocean Paradise, a 55-meter luxury yacht he and his brother Lionel acquired two months ago.
Wealth among Asia-Pacific millionaires may top North America’s as soon as next year, according to a report published last month by Cap Gemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada. Asians with at least $1 million in investable assets are set to see their riches climb to $15.9 trillion by 2015 from $12 trillion last year, the 2013 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report says. North American high net-worth individuals held $12.7 trillion in 2012.
With rising riches has come an appetite for expensive toys. Take Lee’s yacht. With a charter price of $300,000 a week, the Ocean Paradise was custom-built by Benetti for 34 million euros ($46 million). It was being promoted at last week’s Monaco Yacht Show -- one of the most important in the world for the biggest luxury boats -- as a “world of cool.” It has a jacuzzi, a Zen garden, floor-to-ceiling windows, mood lighting, a carbon-fiber dining table and a vintage Space Invaders video game.
Lee’s purchase is seen as a harbinger of future sales for an industry more associated with billionaires from the U.S., Europe -- especially Russia -- and the Middle East.