The Shanghai Waigaoquiao Shipbuilding Co, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Cooperation (CSSC), announced its plans during a deal signing ceremony with the Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri.
The Italian ship company has built some of the world’s best ships for Disney Cruise Line, Costa, P&O, Cunard and Holland America, among others.
This is the first time a Chinese company has entered into the cruise industry and the ship is believed to cost at least US$1 billion. The build comes at a crucial time for Chinese shipbuilding, which has suffered a severe downturn since the GFC in 2008.
According to shipping website seatrade-maritime.com: “China’s state-owned shipbuilders and China State Shipbuilding Corporation … have responded to the declining new orders by consolidating its various yard subsidiaries so as to streamline operations and maximise facility utilisation.”
The China deal came after the UK-based cruise company Carnival Corp, which counts Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Costa among it brands, signed an agreement last October with CSSC to explore the mainland market for cruises.
The deal resulted in an order for five cruise liners from CSSC’s subsidiary. The two parties will set up a luxury cruise ship design and construction firm in Hong Kong, with CSSC holding 60 per cent of shares and Fincantieri 40 per cent.
Last year, 1.1 million Chinese cruised. That number is expected to grow to 4.5 million by 2020.