Carnival Corp. & plc has signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with China Merchants Group for two joint ventures to fast-track China’s cruise industry development. The memorandum outlines the eventual partnership between the two parties that could result in a ship-owning joint project, as well as joint destination and port development plans.
China Merchants Group was founded in 1872. The company is a state enterprise focusing on infrastructure, transportation, real estate development and financial services.
If the ship project gets off the ground, it would be the first ever Chinese cruise line targeted specifically to the Chinese market. A similar endeavor is being explored by Royal Caribbean. China Merchants Group and Carnival Corp. are researching the possibility of creating new ships that are China-designed and built, along with the likelihood of acquiring existing vessels.
As part of the joint ventures’ port plans, the companies would cooperate to develop transit and turnaround ports within and around China. Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in Shekou, Shenzhen is being currently developed by China Merchants Group.
China is the fastest growing geographic region in cruise industry. The major lines are targeting travelers in China and Japan by homeporting at least one of their ship in Asia. Carnival Corporation is serving the Chinese market through vessels from its Princess and Costa Cruises brands.
By April 2015, a total of four cruise ships will be homeported in China. From 2013 to 2015, Carnival Corp. will increase by 140% its presence in China.