Forget about limousines, penthouse apartments, private jets and other trappings of newfound wealth. For Asia’s growing ranks of the ultra-rich, a superyacht has become the ultimate status symbol, and manufacturers of luxury craft are setting course for a region which by one count now boasts more than 330 billionaires.
“I love having a yacht as it’s a home that moves and I have a different view everyday,” Singaporean tycoon Arthur Tay, one of the city-state’s pioneering yachtsmen, told AFP. Tay owns Hye Seas II, a sleek 116-foot (35.4-metre) vessel that dominates a marina club he set up in the exclusive Sentosa Cove seaside
enclave. The vessel boasts wood-panelled walls, a well-stocked bar, flat-screen televisions and plush sofas looking out to a sweeping view of the sea. “I relax when I’m on the boat — get away from all the noise,” Tay said. He declined to disclose the cost of the yacht but a well-informed executive in the boat business estimated its worth at close to $12 million.
Tay, chairman of lifestyle products and services firm SUTL, said he takes his vessel out to sea three times a month on average with family and friends to nearby tourist hotspots like Phuket and Bali. Jean-Jacques Lavigne, executive director of the Singapore Superyacht Association, who defines a superyacht as any private leisure vessel measuring more than 24 metres (about 80 feet) in length, says 216 are based in Asia. That’s double the number just two to four years ago, he says, but just a sliver of the global total of 7,000. “There are two factors which are contributing to the growth. One is obviously the huge wealth creation in Asia, the second one being the investment in infrastructure, mostly good quality marinas,” he told AFP.