Heysea Yachts was founded in 2007, a notoriously testing time for even long standing operations let alone new ones thanks to the Financial Crisis, after Leng and his colleagues identified a gap in the market for Chinese white boat construction. Having studied naval architecture and engineering Leng had encountered commercial ships but had very little to do with yachts and it was only when he spent time living and studying in New Zealand, a country where time on the water is a way of life, that he was first properly exposed to the world of leisure yachting. On his return to China he was determined to create a company that would be able to foster the same love for sailing in China as he had seen first hand in New Zealand.
And so Heysea Yachts was born, with a vision to create a market-leading shipyard and to help bring the world of yachting to China. Initially focusing on the 60 to 80’ market Leng himself worked on the development of the naval architecture, exterior and interior design of the Heysea range, a process he still enjoys today. Originally the business plan had been to target the worldwide market from the get go but with the onset of the Financial Crisis, focus shifted more to the local market, a move which proved incredibly beneficial in the long run as the yard fast proved popular within China.
Today the yard employs nearly 400 staff, working out of its 66,700 sqm facility with almost all work done in house bar the outsourcing of steel and some key products that the yard prefers to use proven European brands for. Four lines are on offer – the Heysea series (Heysea 60, 70, 78 and 82 models), Zoom series (Zoom 58, 76 and Zoom Plus models), superyachts (Asteria 96 and 108 and SeaLink 46.8M) and custom projects. With every build the yard looks to counter some existing preconceptions that Chinese construction does not always equate to the highest quality, taking real pride in the skill and craftsmanship of the yard team. Building mostly in composite, the yard is now branching out to also build steel hulls with composite superstructures, and is also open to discussing other build materials for custom projects.
Currently most of Heysea’s clients are from Asia, particularly China, Hong Kong, Philippines and eastern Asia in general. As a Chinese yard, run by an experienced management team, Leng believes that they have a better understanding of what Chinese clients want than other yards in the industry and that this has played an important part in their ongoing success. “Chinese owners use their yachts very differently and we understand what they want,” he says frankly. “For example usually Chinese owners don’t like living in the boat at night, they just use it in the day, going out cruising and having fun before returning to the marina, so the communal onboard spaces on Chinese owned yachts are very important, more so than the accommodation.”
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