Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, has formed a joint venture in China to launch the first multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market.
Carnival Corporation & plc is partnering China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation (CIC) 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.
Carnival Corporation & plc and its partners formalised the joint venture agreement at a signing ceremony on 21 October 2015 at the Mansion House in London.
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.
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 & plc.
The joint venture announcement builds on recent news from Carnival Corporation & plc that the company is again expanding its position in the Chinese cruise market with growth plans in 2016 and 2017.
The company announced in July that its existing brands already sailing in China – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises – will continue to expand in 2016 with each brand adding a ship to its fleet in China in 2016, making Carnival Corporation & plc the first global cruise company with six total ships based in China and extending the company’s industry-leading market presence in the overall market.
The expansion of Carnival Corporation & plc’s China fleet to six ships will represent a 58 percent increase in capacity in China in 2016, including three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market. Together, the Costa and Princess brands will potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016, giving Chinese guests more choice and flexibility in both the contemporary and luxury segments.