How COVID changed Hong Kong’s luxury yacht market

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. yacht / yɒt / (n.) – a large, usually expensive boat, used for racing or pleasure

    Many rich and popular people enjoy spending their vacations on yachts.

  2. manufacturer / ˌmæn yəˈfæk tʃər ər / (n.) – a company that produces products

    Many car manufacturers are working on electric vehicle technology.

  3. test the waters / tɛst ðə ˈwɔ tərz / (idiom) – to try something or to get people’s opinions about a plan, product, or idea, to see if it will be successful before making a final decision or commitment

    She is testing the waters by selling her handmade jewelry to her friends before considering selling it online.

  4. misconception / ˌmɪs kənˈsɛp ʃən / (n.) – a wrong idea or belief about something

    There is a common misconception that all snakes are poisonous, which isn’t true.

  5. oftentimes / ˈɔ fənˌtaɪmz / (adv.) – on many occasions

    We find that problems arise in relationships oftentimes due to failed communication.


Read the text below.

Boats are back in business in Hong Kong, with the first post-pandemic International Boat Show opening at Marina Cove in Sai Kung, a long-established home for sailors from near and far.

The boat show brings together more than 30 luxury yachts from manufacturers all over the world. They are putting their best boats on display, testing the waters of the Asian market after the COVID-19 pandemic. Price tags range from HK$ 1 million (US$ 128,205) up to HK$ 80 million (US$ 10,256,410).

Adam Waters, General Manager of Princess Yachts Greater China, has been in the boating business in Hong Kong for ten years and has witnessed how COVID brought changes to the industry—positive ones he says.

“For boating, fortunately, COVID brought around a positive change in boating. When I was using boats, selling boats 10 years ago, people were only using them for day boats, […] or just for a short cruise with corporate guests. But when everyone in Hong Kong was, I guess, stuck here in Hong Kong, they started to use their boats in a different way,” he says.

“All of a sudden, people were taking longer trips […]. They were staying overnight, staying for long weekends. […] And when people start to use their boats by staying overnight, then they start to want to change their boats more and experience more what boating can offer.”

Lawrence Chow, Chairman of the Hong Kong Boating Industry Association, says there is a definite trend towards “greener boats.” “We have a lot of people that are upgrading their boats to bigger boats with more technology on them that are more sustainable.”

Traditionally boating is associated with status and the wealthy, but Chow claims it is now becoming more affordable and attracting younger buyers. “I think there’s always a misconception that boating is very expensive. But it’s actually not that because oftentimes you can share a boat with a couple of friends together or you can buy a smaller boat, which is the trend right now. Compared to property prices, just like cars, the prices of boats have actually more or less, only increased very slightly. So, it’s actually becoming more affordable.” 

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Lawrence Chow said that there is a misconception that boating is very expensive, but it’s actually not. How is boating perceived in your country (ex. it’s a luxury, it’s a common activity)? Have there been any recent changes or developments in boating within your country (ex. it’s more accessible, more people are buying boats)? What factors affect these changes? Discuss.
  • Boat prices range from HK$ 1 million up to HK$ 80 million. Given this, would you be willing to buy your own or share a boat with your friends? Why or why not? Do you think that a boat is a good purchase? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • According to Adam Waters, COVID-19 brought about a positive change in boating. What activities have you observed become popular in your country due to the COVID-19 pandemic (ex. staycation, virtual parties)? Do you think these activities will still be popular even after recovering from the pandemic? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Have there been any noticeable positive outcomes of COVID-19 in your country? In your opinion, which industries have experienced favorable effects as a result of the pandemic? Why do you think so? Discuss.