Carnival Corporation has formed a joint venture in China that intends to launch the first world-class, multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market.
Carnival is partnering with China State Shipbuilding Corporation and China Investment Corporation on the new venture aimed at accelerating the
development and growth of the overall cruise industry in China, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.
The American giant and its partners formalised the joint venture agreement at a signing ceremony held today at the Mansion House in London.
British prime minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony, signifying both the importance of the joint venture
and the prominent role that the travel and tourism industry will play in China’s economic growth plans.
Also in attendance were Dong Qiang, chairman of CSSC, and Ding Xuedong, chairman of CIC, along with Carnival Corporation chief Arnold Donald and Alan Buckelew, global chief operation officer for the company.
Under the structure of the new joint venture, Carnival Corporation and CSSC, the largest shipbuilder in China, plan to purchase and operate cruise ships as part of what is expected to be the first multi-ship fleet sailing for a domestic Chinese cruise brand.
Specific fleet details will be announced at a later date, but potential plans could include the purchase of both new and existing cruise ships to homeport in China.
The CIC, currently one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with over $740 billion in assets under management, will serve as a significant investor in the new cruising joint venture with CSSC and Carnival Corporation.
CIC’s involvement as a strategic partner reinforces China’s commitment to developing a strong domestic cruise presence and growing demand for cruising as a key driver of the expanding Chinese tourism market, which is a top priority for longer term economic development in China.
“This cruising joint venture is a significant step forward for the cruise industry in China and a tremendous opportunity for us to work together with CSSC and CIC to grow awareness, interest and demand for cruise vacations amongst domestic Chinese travellers,” said Buckele, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation.
“Cruising is a relatively new vacation experience in China, and we believe this collaborative approach with our partners is critical to not only developing the country’s domestic cruise business, but also supporting China’s goal to become one of the world’s leading cruise markets in coming years.
“We are excited about using our scale and decades of experience as the world’s largest cruise company to help launch a multi-ship domestic cruise brand that will help spread the enjoyment of cruising to millions more Chinese vacationers.”
Today’s joint venture announcement builds on recent news from Carnival Corporation that the company is again expanding its leadership position in the Chinese cruise market with growth plans in 2016 and 2017.