Interview: Tan Sri Kt Lim, Chairman, Genting Hong Kong

Tan Sri Kt Lim (Photo: Genting Hong Kong)

By Greg Trauthwein

Five minutes with Tan Sri Kt Lim, Chairman, Genting
Hong Kong

Last year Genting Hong Kong acquired shipbuilding
capacity in Germany. When and why was the decision made to become
a shipbuilder?

With the rapid growth of the world cruise industry, especially in
China, this has led to cruise ship order book reaching an
all-time high, with orders placed as far out as 2026, nearly 10
years from now. In order to ensure that the company can build the
required number of cruise ships for three brands in the next
decade, it is strategic that we acquired shipyards that can build
our cruise ships on a timely basis without pricing pressure from
the limited number of yards which can build mega cruise ships.
Ownership of the yards provides certainty that we can build a
fleet of high quality cruise ships at a pace dictated by our
growth rather than constrained by supply.

Which economic indicators do you monitor to future plan,
and what do those indicators say now?

We look at most economic indictors, particularly the long term
ones as the orders of cruise ships will result in delivery 4 to 5
years in the future. Unlike the aircraft industry, it is not
possible to start any large cruise fleet buying existing tonnage
due to the sheer economies of scale of large cruise ships. With
most of the world, particularly in Asia at a much lower GDP per
capita but with growth which are several fold higher than
developed countries, the opportunities of growth in Asia will be
much higher. This is the region where we are now focused our
future on.

As experts in the Asia cruise market, how does this
market differ from European, Mediterranean and North American
markets?

Each country and region have their own particular unique market
characteristics. For example, German cruise lines are quite
different from U.S. cruise lines in terms of design, operation,
food and service standards. Therefore, Star and Dream Cruises
ships are also very unique for the Asian market as the design
started grounds up with the Asian market in mind.

When looking at the ships that you build today, how are
they most similar, and most different, than the oldest ships in
your fleet?

The Global Class ships for Star Cruises will set a new pace for
cruise ships built for the Asian market, in both size and
facilities. They will be very different from the older ships in
our fleet. Detailed particulars will be released closer to the
delivery date in 2020.

Where do you see potential for growth, and how is this
affecting the ships you design and build?

Cruising is increasing worldwide at a steady pace. Although
everyone speaks of the rapid growth of cruising in Asia, the
rapid growth is from a small base. The absolute number of berths
required will be more for the much larger fleet servicing the
developed countries in the Caribbean, Alaska and the
Mediterranean. As we are focused on the Asian region, Genting
Hong Kong will continue to build cruise ships, which are "Asian
at heart, yet international in spirit". For example, language
plays an important role in ensuring that our Chinese guests feel
at home while on board any of our ships and, as dining is a very
important part of the local culture, Chinese guests are very
discerning when it comes to their many types of regional
cuisines.

What is the biggest challenge to building and maintaining
a successful cruise shipping brand?

There are many successful brand strategies but for us, it is
identifying the Asian needs; building ships addressing those
needs and delivering the service at the right price point of this
particular market.

Mar 9, 2017

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