Carnival Corporation on Wednesday announced that it has formed a joint venture in China with the intention to the launch the country’s first multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market.
The joint venture was formed with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation (CIC). The agreement was formalized during at a signing ceremony held Wednesday in London and attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The deal is reportedly valued at $4 billion.
Under the structure of the new joint venture, Carnival Corporation & plc 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.
CIC is currently one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with over $740 billion in assets under management and will serve as a significant investor in the joint venture.
Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise ship company, says it expects China to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world, and the new venture is aimed at accelerating the development and growth of the overall cruise industry 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 travelers,” said Buckelew, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation & plc. “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.”
Wednesday announcement builds on Carnival Corp.’s previously announced expansion plans in China. In July, Carnival announced that its existing brands already sailing in China, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, will continue to expand in 2016 with the addition of one ship each, bringing Carnival Corp.’s overall fleet in China to six ships.
Last week, Carnival also revealed that its brands Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will be joining Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in China in 2017. Princess Cruises new ship, the Majestic Princess, will be based Shanghai upon delivery in summer 2017 and is the first year-round international cruise ship built specifically for Chinese guests.
Carnival Corporation’s overall portfolio is comprised of 10 cruise brands operating 100 ships in 2015 in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.