Carnival finalises deal for first cruise ships to be built in China as Xi Jinping looks on
Carnival Corporation has agreed to order two cruise ships to be built by a China-based shipbuilding joint venture, with an option for four more.
Demonstrating the importance of the deal, worth $1.5bn, the signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Carnival, CSSC and Fincantieri executives at the signing ceremony, watched by Presidents Mattarella and Xi Jinping, background left and right TTG Asia
The agreement updates the terms of the initial announcement in September 2016, further expanding the cooperation between Carnival Corporation and China State Shipbuilding Corporation, China’s flagship company in shipbuilding.
Carnival’s cruise joint venture in China agreed to order two new ships to be built by a China-based shipbuilding joint venture between CSSC, the largest shipbuilder in China, and Fincantieri .
Based on its global expertise as the world’s largest and leading cruise company, Carnival Corporation will operate and manage all cruise ships owned by the cruise joint venture as part of its plans to launch the first multi-ship cruise brand in China.
The two new ships will be built with a design tailored for the cruise brand and the specific tastes of Chinese travellers. Under the agreement, Carnival Corporation will provide onsite supervision and support during ship construction. The first of these ships is expected for delivery in 2023.
Carnival Corporation’s cruise joint venture – a partnership announced in 2015 with CSSC in which Carnival Corporation holds a minority interest – plans to launch a cruise brand in China using ships that are purchased from Carnival Corporation’s existing fleet.
Based on today’s agreement, the joint venture would then add new China-built cruise ships starting in 2023 to further accelerate growth in the Chinese cruise market and serve increasing demand for cruising from Chinese and Asian travelers.
“We are proud to order the first China-built cruise ships and play a meaningful role in developing cruise shipbuilding capabilities for the first time in China,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.
“This represents another important milestone in building a sustainable and prosperous cruise industry, and demonstrates our commitment to contributing to China become a leading cruise market as part of its five-year economic development plan.”
Wu Qiang, president of CSSC, said it is “working closely with international partners like Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri to build the first cruise ships in China, which will significantly advance the rapid, sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese cruise industry”.
He added: “Our close partnership with Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri, with the aim to build cruises addressing the additional demand from the Chinese and Asian market, will let more people enjoy the benefits of globalisation and live a better life.”
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “Looking at the global scenario means trying to widen one’s boundaries, laying the foundations to further boost business prospects and access more complex markets. It is not possible to maintain a competitive presence in the medium and long term without such a commitment.”
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