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Prospects bob in sea of business

THE China (Shanghai) International Boat Show 2009 will display boats on the water for the first time.

Visitors to the show, which runs until Sunday, can have a close look at six luxury yachts at the Shanghai Yacht Club and even take a trip on the Huangpu River. This year's show will also host the Shanghai Charity Regatta tomorrow, with proceeds helping children with autism.

Asia's largest boat show, which is mostly housed in the Shanghai Exhibition Center, opened yesterday with 380 domestic and overseas exhibitors, including top luxury yacht makers - a slight drop on last year's 400 exhibitors.

Organizers said China's stability during the current global financial crisis attracted many foreign firms keen to grasp business opportunities.

China now ranks among the top 10 boat makers in the world and the sixth-biggest super-yacht maker, said Yang Xinfa, secretary general of the Shanghai Association of Shipbuilding Industry.

"There are 56 yachting clubs in the country," said Yang, a co-organizer of the show. "China's exports of boats amounted to US$260 million last year. The yacht business in China's coastal regions has developed quickly in the past five years. Despite the financial crisis, the boating industry in China is expected to see a steady increase."

The show, which started in 1995, has attracted the boating industry's major players from countries including Italy, France and Australia.

Top British luxury yacht maker Princess and the Yacht Industry Association of Japan are making their Shanghai show debuts this year. France's Beneteau presented its new powerboat range, Monte Carlo, while domestic boat manufacturer Shanghai Double Happiness unveiled its Gianetti 48.


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