Mega-yachts’ outlook: sunny, chance of taxes
AMSTERDAM _ The economic outlook for Europe is dark, except for makers of mega-yachts. The 2013 Knight Frank Wealth Report sees the ranks of the fabulously well-to-do swelling by 50% in the next decade. In 2012, the number of “High-Net-Worth Individuals” _ folks with $30 million or more in net assets _ rose by 5%, or 8,700 individuals. Over the next 10 years, 95,000 will join the HNWI Club. Good news for Dutch makers of mega-yachts?
Fairly good, says the Knight Frank Wealth Report which monitors the world’s super rich. By 2022, it estimates, Asia will boast 1,200 billionaires, up 119% from now. But there are barriers to super-yachts. Stiff taxes on yacht imports, a lack of suitable marinas and badly silted rivers mean that _ like rich Russians _ Chinese with deep pockets must be sold on keeping a yacht in the Mediterranean.
China will overtake the US as the world’s No. 1 economy by 2020. By then, China’s ultra-wealthy population will have doubled. Other Asian nations also look like rich hunting ground for mega-yacht makers. Across Asia, the number of HNWIs will rise by 88% over the next decade. For instance, India’s super-rich will double in numbers over the next 10 years. Myanmar has 40 super rich people now. This will jump to more than 280 by 2020.
The United States remains the world leader in billionaires. North America will still have 30% of the world’s HNWIs in 2022, although this is down from 34% today. “The industrial revolutions in the US and the UK acted as a base for the large concentration of wealth still evident in these areas,” says the wealth report.
Latin America is also a growth story “thanks to the rise of the middle classes.” The number of wealthy people in Brazil is expected to rise by nearly 140%. By 2022, one in 10 of the world’s HNWIs will be living in Latin America.
The wealth report is bullish on Europe, estimating the total wealth of the continent’s ultra-rich will grow by a third by 2022, led by Russia and Ukraine. Germany will still be home to the largest population of super-rich in 2022, followed by Britain. Hurting mega-yacht market’s chances in Europe are harsh taxes and strict visa rules. The Daily Telegraph recently quoted British Marine Federation CEO Howard Pridding as saying: “Chinese tourist restrictions are a straitjacket on the UK marine industry which is harming businesses, sapping the economy, and costing local jobs. When a handful of visas can be all that stands in the way of tens of millions of pounds for the UK economy, the current restrictions are clearly not working in the country’s best interests.”