The rise of new-build yachts in Asia


Associated with some of Asia’s most iconic new-build, Julian Chang offers his views on the increasing demand for yachts built in this region and what to look out for.



Kingship Voyager 144, Pearl


Having had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the ocean on our family yacht in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand since my youth, and having had the experience of building three megayachts in China that received awards in Europe, USA and Asia, I’d like to share my views about new builds in Asia.


One of the major contributions in the increase in new builds in Asia is because of the lower prices yacht owners can enjoy. Just comparing across-the-board prices of Asian yards and the well-established international yacht builders, the prices could be 20-40 per cent lower depending on the size of the yacht, the quality, the build time, and the shipyard’s dedication and expertise.


Another contributing factor is the increasing number of Asians interested in yachts. As the usage of the yachts can be different locally, there’s more acceptance of designs catering to Asian tastes.


Puccini Yachts PY78


Kingship Marine is among the top yacht builders in Asia. As an example, look at the specifications of its Voyager 144, the exterior and interior, and the space it offers. Horizon Yachts is also at the forefront of yacht building in Asia and well recognised outside of this region, with buyers in North America, Europe and Australasia.


Puccini Yachts is a smaller, upcoming shipyard, set to make a name for itself as it concentrates on yachts below 78ft. It gives a minimum two-year guarantee with prices in the region of 50 per cent lower than the top international yacht brands. Puccini uses Italian designers, so the lines are like most European yachts. Volvo Penta engines and other foreign equipment are standard.


Pride Mega Yachts has won awards in Europe and is a leader in building large, custom superyachts in Asia. Its most unique yacht is the 88.15m Asean Lady, which won an award for innovation in Monaco in 2005. Its latest award was for the 88.5m Illusion Plus, which was on display at the 2018 Monaco Yacht Show.


Asean Lady


All said and done, it does not mean one can just flip a coin to pick an Asian yacht builder. First-time owners wanting to build in Asia should follow a few easy steps to pick the right shipyard. Cost is a key motivation but look at other aspects besides the lowest price.


• Check the shipyard’s financial strength. This could be easily done by consulting your personal banker. The verification will be in relation to the amount you are spending on your yacht.

• Choose a shipyard that has built at least three yachts for foreign clients. This should give the shipyard the experience of understanding the needs of a foreign client.

• Hire a local owner’s representative while building your yacht to ensure your thoughts and standards are communicated accurately. Someone who knows the language and understands the local culture is of utmost importance.

• Lastly, my main suggestion for buyers wanting to build in Asia – especially if choosing a relatively new yard – is allow more time for construction compared to the more established international builders.



Chang has spent much of his career in the family business, constructing offshore vessels including oil rigs for the likes of Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Petronas. In his 35 years in the offshore energy, leisure and yachting industries, he has amassed a total of 620 projects including the construction of high-rise office buildings and high-rise residences. In 1998, Chang began his involvement in building megayachts and is a founding member of the Superyacht Singapore Association, a Board Director of The International Seakeepers Society and President of The International Seakeepers Society Asia. Managing Director of Raffles Yacht since 2013, he also spent five years as a Director, Southeast Asia for Fraser. Since 2019, he has been a Senior Advisor, Asia for Burgess. His hobbies include diving, fishing, chess, motorbiking, bird-watching and karaoke. /

Note: The original article appeared as a Column in Yacht Style Issue 59.

YACHT STYLE Issue 59 Out Now

Yacht Style’s annual Multihulls Issue highlights new models from the world’s leading cruising catamaran builders and features reviews of the Aquila 70, Lagoon 55 and Bali 4.8, as well as MCY 76 Skylounge and Ferretti Yachts 500, while Gulf Craft Chairman Mohammed Alshaali, Lee Marine and Water Revolution Foundation are also in the spotlight.