Written by Mike Derrett
At the official opening of the 10th edition of the Korea International Boat Show at the KINTEX exhibition centre in Seoul on the 25th of May the organisers, the Gyeonggi Provincial Government and the Korea National Exhibition Centre KINTEX highlighted the growth of the show and the leisure boating market over the decade.
According to official statistics the number of leisure boats has grown from 5,000 to 25,000 and the number of operational marinas from one to twenty since 2007.
Industry consultant, Mike Derrett, who was involved as an advisor in the original launch of the event as a Marine festival in 2008, said in his congratulation address at the opening ceremony “There are strong signs at that Korea is developing well as a Middle Class Boating market, perhaps the only one in Asia, with interest primarily in boats from 20 to 35-feet”.
“In my opinion the three key ingredients for market growth over the past 10 years have been: A strong economy with GDP per head well over US$ 30,000 per head; A long coastline of 3,500 kilometres, much of which is suitable for leisure boating and fishing, a strong national pastime; Strong central and provincial government support in developing a vibrant boat show, a key factor for growth.”
The attendance at the 10th Edition of the Korea International Boat Show, which ran from the 25th to the 28th of May was 45,231, an increase of 11 percent increase on the 2017 figures and an indicator that public interest in leisure boating is growing despite the ongoing tension between the USA and North Korea.
Exhibitors were generally happy with 10th edition of the show. Kenny Kang the CEO of one of the leading companies in the marine business in Korea, CKIPM Marine Group, who are Beneteau, Lagoon, and Montecarlo Yacht dealers and also develop marinas said “The market is gradually developing. We sold eight Beneteau and Lagoon Yachts in the past two years and the small outboard motor models are popular as fishing is a key part of the market with 5 million leisure fishermen in Korea.
“There are also new marina projects underway which will add to the existing 20 that have opened in the last 10 years. We have four new marina projects under way ourselves that will add over 1,000 berths.”
Another key exhibitor at KIBS was Marine Land, one of the longest established boat dealers in Korea, who exhibited their Mercury outboard motor and Bayliner boat brands at the show. According to the Company President Kim Chansoo.
“The market is improving and we sold over 40 boats last year and have invested in a new showroom facility in Seoul last year. I feel that the culture of leisure boating is becoming established in Korea and the market is certainly growing, the move of KIBS to the KINTEX exhibition facility in Seoul has been a positive move as it is the most central location for a boat show in Korea.”
The equipment market is also proving robust, Alec Kim the CEO of Pretech Marine a manufacturer of steering and engine control cables associated systems as well as a boat importer said “Our equipment sales are worldwide through 58 distributors and although our local sales are small I can see that the market is growing here in Korea, my company also imports a small boat from Poland, the 5.6 metre Pegasus which is outboard powered and ideal for the strong fishing market.
“One key point that I have noticed recently at the show is that customers are asking searching questions about boats, are doing their research well while considering what to buy.”
KIBS 2018 will run 24 to 27 May.