Korean boat show


The Korea International Boat Show celebrated its 10th anniversary with a large attendance. The official opening of the show’s 10th edition was held at the Kintex exhibition centre in Seoul on the 25th of May 2017. During the speeches, the organisers — the Gyeonggi Provincial Government and the Korea National Exhibition Centre — highlighted the growth of the show and the leisure boating market over the last 10 years. According to official statistics, the number of leisure boats in the country has grown from 5,000 to 25,000 and the number of operational marinas from one to 20 since 2007.

Industry consultant Mike Derrett, who was involved in the launch of the event in 2008, said in his congratulatory address at the opening ceremony that:

“There are strong signs 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.”

Going on inmore detail, Derrett said: “In my opinion the three key ingredients for market growth over the last 10 years have been:

• a robust economy with GDP 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 Korea International Boat Show, which ran from the 25th to the 28th of May, was 45,231, an increase of 11% over the previous year and an indicator that public interest leisure boating is growing despite the ongoing tension between the USA and North Korea.

Exhibitors were generally happy with way the show turned out. Kenny Kang, CEO of the CKIPM Marine Group, one of the leading companies in the Korean marine industry, and who imports boats and develops marinas, spoke to IBI at show:

“We are Beneteau, Lagoon, and Monte Carlo Yacht dealers for Korea. I’m happy to say, the market is gradually developing. We sold eight Beneteaus and Lagoons in the last two years. The small outboard motor boats are popular as fishing is a key part of the market with five 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 marinas 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. They exhibited their Mercury outboard 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. We also invested in a new showroom facility in Seoul last year. I feel that the culture of leisure boating is establishing itself in Korea and the market is growing. The relocation 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 lively. Alec Kim, 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. Although our local sales are small, I can see that the market is growing. My company also imports a small boat from Poland — the 5.6-metre Pegasus — which is outboard powered and ideal for the fishing market. One key point that I have noticed recently at the show is that customers are asking more searching questions about boats. So they are doing their research well while considering what to buy.”

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