A new BBC2 programme, Theo's Adventure Capitalists, charts Fairline's first dealership in Ho Chi Minh City
The first Fairline dealership will be based in Ho Chi Minh City, with the Targa 44 arriving on the River Saigon moorings in the next few months.
The programme follows Bryan Jones, president of Fairline Boats Asia, as he faces the formidable task of selling top-end cruisers to two enthusiastic local Vietnamese businessmen, Nam Pham and Long Huynh, who know very little about boats.
“It’s really good. Look how big it is!” says an excited Nam. “Where do we keep the champagne?” asks Long.
It’s the first time either man has ever been on a luxury boat – not surprising when you consider that Vietnam has no motorboat industry to speak of.
“There are no marinas, no qualified skippers, no engineers and no spare parts. Are you mad?” asks Theo, himself a keen motorboater.
But the real drive into the Asian economy is being powered by a new class of millionaires looking to spend their money on luxury goods, a fact that Fairline’s new dealers are determined to use in trailblazing Vietnam’s marine industry.
“Marine tourism, we’ll develop, the luxury boat market, we’ll develop,” says Long.
And Fairline also believes the time is right to enter Vietnam’s booming economy, which is growing by around 5% every year.
“As a rough estimate I would expect to be selling four or five boats a year in the next few years,” said Bryan. “With each boat selling for around £1m, that’s around £30m in the next two to five years.
“It’s a chicken and the egg scenario. Should we send the boats and drive the building of infrastructure with demand or do we build the marinas first and hope that we can take a place in a competitive market?”
Investment in deep-water ports and coastal tourism is booming in Vietnam, with around 80 luxury resorts in development. In Ha Long Bay in the north of the country, there are plans to construct Vietnam’s first marina for pleasure boats, complete with electricity and running water.
You can watch Theo’s Venture Capitalists on the BBC iPlayer.