Raffles Yacht, the Chinese yacht builder known for constructing the proa-like Asean Lady and classic replica Nero, is now called Pryde. To promote the new name and better convey its capabilities to the international yacht-buying community, Pryde is also planning to display Illusion, the largest megayacht made in China, at the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show. While that last statement may not sound unusual, it actually is, given that the 288’7” (88-meter) megayacht (above) will still be more than a year away from completion.
Pryde, located on the Yantai Peninsula—hence the shipyard’s first name, dating to its founding in 2000—has been fully owned by China International Marine Containers (CIMC) since 2010. Despite CIMC being an international manufacturing and shipping company, however, the megayacht arm had not had as high of a profile as other shipyards capable of building 262- to 394-foot (80- to 120-meter) projects.
Pryde’s management team clearly intends to change that by capitalizing not just on the lower labor rate in China, but also on the growth of yacht construction in China in recent years, plus the acquisitions of major yacht builders by Chinese firms. Recall that the Ferretti Group and Sunseeker were each bought by China-based companies over the past two years. In addition, existing Chinese builders like Cheoy Lee and more recently established ones like NISI Yachts garner good attention. Pryde’s director, Itay Simhony, who further has a background in yacht design, adds, “Already today, China accounts for 25 percent of the global sales of luxury goods. So it is not surprising that the country also wants to play a role in the production of these goods. The country has an obsession with perfectionism and a strong drive to significantly contribute to the qualitative aspects of the world economy.”
In terms of Pryde’s production contributions, Simhony and the team at Fraser Yachts, which has Illusion listed for sale, believe that exhibiting the megayacht will better illustrate them. Multi-national designers are contributing to her, namely Sinot Yacht Design, Azure Naval Architects, and RMD Marine. The original interior conceived for Illusion was decidedly Asian, though it has been amended to be a bit more neutral, as the images above reveal, given that the megayacht is for sale. With the anticipated completion date for the yacht being in early 2015, a buyer can, of course, still put an imprint on it. Further of interest to buyers is the elbowroom-friendly 51-foot (15.6-meter) beam and total of six decks. A total of 14 in the owner’s party can be accommodated in four double staterooms, two VIPs, and of course the master suite. Thirty-four crewmembers can be housed in 17 cabins.
We plan to get aboard Illusion and learn more from the Pryde and Fraser teams for an update after the show.
UPDATE, AUGUST 14, 2013: We asked Simhony for an explanation of the name change to Pryde, and what that name specifically signifies:
Q: Why rebrand?
A: Leading Chinese superyacht builder CIMC Raffles Yachts is being rebranded as Pryde Yachts to reflect its change of ownership. The new full owner is China International Marine Containers [Group] Ltd (CIMC), which in March 2013 acquired all the outstanding shares of Yantai Raffles Yacht, which then became a wholly owned subsidiary of CIMC. In addition, the new name also reflects the ambitions for the future of the superyacht shipyard and the quality of the superyachts under construction and in development.
Q: Why a new name?
A: For positioning as a luxury brand in the global superyacht market, ‘Raffles Yacht’ is perceived as a name with disadvantages. Name giver Thomas Stamford Raffles was the founder of what has become Singapore, lacking any relation with China or Yantai. Furthermore, the name of ‘Raffles’ is widely used for branding throughout Asia, ranging from universities and hotels to coffee bars. This diminishes the potential for differentiation by its lack of exclusivity. Finally, the successful offshore business of Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore, building large special purpose offshore vessels and semi-submersible platforms, has a longer history than Raffles Yachts and is globally known. It is however associated with heavy duty offshore industry equipment, not with refined and private-owner targeted superyachts.
The heritage of the extensive nautical experience of the company where Pryde is part of is by no means ignored or hidden. The name of CIMC Raffles Yacht as legal business entity name still features on stationery items and business cards. In addition, the endorsement ‘Powered by CIMC,’ which is used on all visual identity materials, is the linking pin with CIMC Group and the history of many successful projects executed. The new name on top of this encapsulates the current ambitions and the superyacht developments planned for the near future. It also positions the company as a genuine player in global superyacht markets. Illusion, the 88.8-meter superyacht now under construction, and its successor, the 115m Estatement, effectively illustrate where Pryde is heading. A global luxury brand, offering high-quality, innovative products, making best use of global and Chinese experience, knowledge, and skills.
Traditionally, luxury brands are built on the high quality of their products, which are characterized by heritage, a high level of creativity, exclusivity, and often personalized craftsmanship. Their scope is international, and they are dedicated to manufacture the very best for a limited group of customers. For a superyacht brand, these principles are tenfold intensified, for the customer group is minute, extremely keen on quality, and personally demanding only the best of the best. In search for common ground to build the new brand on, the pride of creating superyachts as well as sailing them is what aligns the shipyard’s dedication with the focus of the owner.
Q: Why “Pryde”?
A: The universal meaning of pride is related to achievement, to strive for the highest possible. It is directly linked to human emotion. Pride determines a superior level of quality. Pride is used to build a new global brand within the superyacht industry. Pride is the driving force to create, to innovate, and to actively improve both services and products. Pride is bi-directional; on one hand, it is present at the builders and creators, on the other hand, it is present at the owner and users of superyachts.
The Y in Pryde comes as an addition to make this pride distinguishable from the common word and to link it solidly to Yachts – the sharp eye will recognize the top view of a superyacht stern merging with the Y. Finally Yantai is honored with this special Y – the shipyard’s location where international and Chinese specialists, engineers, and craftsmen work, whose job it is to realize the best of the best on a daily basis.