China Merchants Group Establishes New Facilities To Bolster Cruise Ship Production

China Merchants Group
A newly built tanker awaits her launch at shipyard (Photo: Reuters / Nikola Solic)

One of China's largest state-owned conglomerates, China Merchants Group, is planning rapid infrastructure expansions to support its shipbuilding business.

The company announced that it has already broken ground on a $703 facility in Jiangsu Province, which will become its industry base to manufacture cruise ships.

The expansion to increase its manufacturing capacity is part of China's drive to bolster the country's ability to catch up with global manufacturing in core technologies.

Apart from the new industrial base, the company's subsidiary, China Merchants Industry Holdings, also revealed plans of establishing a research and development team to further improve its manufacturing process.

The unit of the conglomerate will also serve to be a key supplier of China Merchant Group's industry base by building its own dockyard in Haimen.

The facility, located just 150 kilometers from Shanghai, will be dedicated to manufacturing cruise ship components.

The rapid expansion plans are aimed at making China Merchants one of the leading companies in manufacturing cruise ships globally. The company also aims to capitalize on China's rapidly growing tourism business.

As the country's middle to high-income earners increases, more citizens are now purchasing tourist cruise holidays.

According to the company's deputy general manager, Wang Cuijun, the establishment of dedicated manufacturing facilities within China will allow the company to decrease its reliance on imported materials and technologies. China Merchants is hopeful that it will eventually be able to master different intelligent manufacturing technologies to make it a true global leader in the space.

 The facilities in Haimen and in Jiangsu, which have a combined area of 650,000 square meters, are both expected to be in active operation by 2022.

Last week, China Merchants Holdings released its first-ever polar expedition cruise ship to its US buyer Sunstone Ships. The delivery of the vessel was a landmark achievement for the company, which has reportedly now received additional orders. Sunstone Ships reportedly ordered an additional 10 polar expedition vessels, all of which are capable of withstanding collisions with icebergs among its other enhancements for polar missions.

Under the country's Made in China 2025 initiative, shipbuilding is part of the top 10 core technologies included in the mandate. Other technologies in the 10 key industrial sectors include robotics, new energy mobility, and chip making.

China previously announced that it is planning to merge two of the country's largest shipbuilders, namely China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). The merger is expected to create an entity that will be able to compete against global rivals such as Croatia's Brodosplit. 

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